The history of Breitling

Léon Breitling chose to devote himself to an exclusive and demanding field in 1884, when he founded his workshop in the Swiss Jura mountains: chronographs and timers. His precision instruments were intended for science, sports and industry. Thanks to their high-quality products and their constant quest for innovation, the brand accompanied the boom of competitive sports and of the automobile – as well as the first feats of the aviation pioneers. In 1914 Léon Breitling dies and his son Gaston Breitling takes over the company.

Breitling advert 1947

In 1915 they invented the first independent chronograph pushpiece. In 1923 this system was improved by separating the stop and start functions from that of resetting. This patented innovation now made it possible to add several succesive times without returning the hands to zero - this proved extremely useful both for calculating flight times and timing sports competitions.

Breitling set the final touch to the modern face of the chronograph in 1934, by their creation of the second independent reset pushpiece – that was a decisive breakthrough which soon was adopted by the competition. In 1969, Breitling took on one of the greatest 20th century watchmaking challenges by presenting the first selfwinding chronograph movement. In 1984, Breitling heralded the rebirth of the mechanical chronograph by launching the famous Chronomat, which has since become their leading model.

In 2009, the companys engineers once again made their mark on the history of the chronograph by their creating of Caliber 01 – the finest selfwinding chronograph movement, entirely manufactured and developed in the workshops of Breitling Chronométrie. A leader in the field of mechanical chronographs, Breitling has also established themselfs in the vanguard of electronic watchmaking by developing an entire range of high-tech instruments especially dedicated to aviation.

Company Innovations

Some of the company's innovations are:


The first independent chronograph wristwatch, 1915.

First Breitling Chronograph


The first independent chronograph pushpiece wristwatch, 1923.

First Breitling Chronograph pushpiece


The first automatic winding chronograph movement, the “Chrono Matic” Caliber 11, 1969.

Breitling Chrono Matic 1969


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