By Harlan Chapman-Green

Welcome welcome one and all to this first article in a series which I’ll be putting two watches crown to crown to decide which is superior. We’ll compare all manner of chronograph watches from many different brands over the series and I’ve got some real crackers for you. If you come to the back of my van I’ve got lots of Digestives and Rich Tea biscuits and many more! But joking aside there are some fantastic watches in the series which will run on a monthly basis.

Let’s get down to business and the first question is, which Speedmaster am I choosing? Indeed, there are many, including both automatic and manually wound movements. But when we refer to the Moonwatch, we’re referring to the 2 manual wind options. There’s a solid case back version using a hesalite crystal over the dial, which is basically a form of plastic. This is the watch that Buzz Aldrin wore when he stepped on the moon. In case you’re wondering, Armstrong’s Speedmaster was in the lander as the clock had broken. The other version, the version I’ll be looking at, is commonly called the sapphire sandwich model, because instead of a hesalite crystal there’s a sapphire one, and there’s also a sapphire case back too so we can see the wonderful movement. Why am I choosing this model? I chose the sapphire sandwich model as the Breitling Navitimer 01 is a modern piece, so it would make more sense to choose a modern piece to put it against.

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The Navitimer is unquestionably Breitling’s most popular model having several different variants and special pieces. However, the Navitimer 01 isn’t a special limited edition model except for the new Panamerican, it features Breitling’s new in-house automatic movement. Why’s this significant? Previously Breitling pieces had been using off the shelf ETA movements which they then modify. Now that Breitling makes some of its own movements it can offer a 5-year warranty. This is pretty impressive for a timepiece. Although the Navitimer has made Breitling what it is today and it certainly has its own legacy, is it enough to stand up to the Omega?

Navitimer 01

The Navitimer was originally designed for pilots and still holds all of the additional features the were seen on the original, such as a thermometer conversion scale on the case back. In the digital age, this isn’t particularly necessary what with advances in meteorological technologies by the MET office and other organisations. But why would you even buy an expensive timepiece when your phone can do it all? That’s not something that can be answered in an article such as this, but rather it must be considered by those who are likely to buy a new expensive watch soon.

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