Founder Léon Breitling set up his workshop in the Swiss Jura in 1884, and concentrated on chronographs (watches with stopwatch times) for sports, science and industry. The company was fortunate as it began to get established alongside the newly-emergent automobile and aviation industries, who were both looking for reliable timers. Brietling introduced several innovations into the field of chronographs, including wrist versions and a cockpit model used by the Royal Air Force, cementing a long partnership with the aviation industry. Unlike other watchmakers who were renowned for the beauty and decoration of their watches, Breitling has always prided itself on the precision and reliability of its movements - in 1962, a Breitling chronograph was worn by astronaut Scott Carpenter on the Aurora 7 space capsule (the model was called the Cosmonaute).
Today, Breitling is still a family business and is one of the last remaining independent watch brands
In 1915 the company produced their first wristwatch chronograph, followed in 1923 by the first independent push piece which allowed the user to time several events without resetting the watch. In 1942 they launched the Chronomat, a watch fitted with a circular slide rule which allowed it to be used for navigation. There’s a buoyant market for good examples of Breitling watches, but examples of these innovative models are particularly sought after.
Breitling watches remain very collectable, with condition and rarity being driving factors when determining cost. As it was the brand of choice of many sports stars and famous aviators, any proven links with famous owners will add to the value, as will original packaging or cases. At Peter Wilson’s, our in-house experts have years of experience in assessing and valuing Breitling watches, so do get in touch if you’d like to learn more about a piece you own, or discuss a potential sale or valuation.
We handle all kinds of Breitling watches regularly. If you are interested in an investment piece or adding to an existing collection, please contact our experts directly and ask to be added to our e-mail list so that we can let you know when we have items of interest coming up in future sales.
We offer a free valuation service to people who are considering the sale of their items through our auction room. Click the button to complete our short form, and one of our experts will be in touch.
On the right of this page you will see a few highlights of Breitling watches we've sold - to see more, including prices and dates, search our sold lot archives.