Breitling, Etihad tie up for limited-edition luxury watch

Amrita Nair-Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on September 18, 2019 Published on September 18, 2019

Expanding its circle of airline collaborations, Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling has tied up with Etihad, the national airline of the UAE. The two brands have co-created an exclusive new model, Aviator 8 Etihad Limited Edition.

Eastern Arabic numerals are to be showcased on the dial of the model, limited to 500 pieces, in deference to Etihad’s Arabian heritage. The gold-coloured numerals and matching gold hands are in sharp contrast to the 41 mm steel model’s black steel dial, which lies beneath a double anti-reflective sapphire glass.

“Breitling’s association with chronographs and aeronautics dates back to 1884,” Tim Sayler, CMO, Breitling, told BusinessLine. “With such strong ties to aviation, it was only natural for us to seek a local partner who shares our commitment to quality and precision. As the national airline of the UAE, Etihad Airways offers the perfect platform for us,” he said.

Official timekeeper

The model will be exclusively available in Etihad’s home of Abu Dhabi before being released across the globe. Etihad is to serve as the Official Timekeeper for Breitling.

“The need for a timekeeper stems from the essential role punctuality and precision plays in the world of aviation,” Yasser Al Yousuf, Vice-President, Commercial Partnerships, Etihad Airways, told BusinessLine. “As one of the most punctual airlines in the world, we required a partner who shares our passion for precision. Breitling has established a global reputation for high-precision timepieces, and with the brand’s storied association with aviation, Breitling was the natural choice for us,” he said.

The aviation major joins an illustrious line-up of partners. Last year, Breitling announced the release of two limited-edition watches — Navitimer Aviator 8 B01 Swiss Limited Edition and Navitimer Aviator 8 Automatic Swiss Limited Edition — to celebrate its partnership with Swiss International Air Lines. Since 2016, Breitling has been the official on-board timekeeper for the airline, with a presence on every Swiss flight.

The luxury watchmaker is particularly famed for its strong presence in and significant contributions to aviation. Breitling on-board flight chronographs were introduced in 1936, and the sturdy instruments were swiftly adopted by dozens of airlines.

Ties to aviation

Shortly after, during World War II, these aircraft chronographs would cement Breitling’s historic ties to aviation. Many armed forces, including the UK’s Royal Air Force, equipped their airplane cockpits with Breitling chronographs. The company has been designated as an official supplier for the Royal Air Force ever since.

Breitling had earlier teamed up with Pan American World Airways (Pan Am). To celebrate the airline, Breitling introduced the Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 Pan Am Edition.

More recently, the brand created a Navitimer 1 Airline Capsule Collection of special editions commemorating the iconic airlines of the golden age of aviation, including Swiss Air, Trans World Airlines and Pan Am.

Breitling Aviator 8 Etihad Limited Edition is to build on this aviation heritage. Among founder Willy Breitling’s many celebrated achievements was the establishment of the Huit Aviation Department in 1938. Aware of the strict requirements for military and civil aviation, the department’s name (the French word for ‘eight’) was chosen to recall the eight days of power reserve offered by on-board clocks and other dashboard instruments.

The Huit Aviation Department was also responsible for the development of Breitling’s wrist chronographs for aviation use. As the World War II approached, the Department received a large order from the Royal Air Force for on-board chronographs destined for its fighter planes.

Published on September 18, 2019
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