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The history of Breitling began in 1884 in St Imier, Switzerland. Leon Breitling opened a workshop specialising in the production of chronographs and precision counters for scientists. The growth of the company led to a relocation to La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1892. On his death in 1914, Leon's son Gaston Breitling took over the firm.
In 1915 Breitling produced their first wristwatch chronograph. This was followed in 1923 by the development of the first independent chronograph push piece and in 1934 by the second return-to-zero push piece. This invention allowed the timing of several successive short events and gave the chronograph wristwatch its definitive form.
In 1936 Breitling became the official supplier to the Royal Air Force.
In 1942 Breitling launched the Chronomat, the first watch fitted with a circular slide rule. This allowed the watch to act as a navigational computer and was followed in 1952 by the Navitimer, capable of handling all calculations required for a flight plan.
Breitling became the second Swiss watch in space in 1962 when astronaut Scott Carpenter wore the Cosmonaute chronograph featuring a 24hr dial abord the Aurora 7 space capsule.
In conjunction with Buren and Heuer-Leonidas, in 1969 Breitling launched the world's first modular automatic chronograph.
Number of times sold at auction