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Hands-On: Vintage Breitling 806 Navitimer Review

The Breitling Navitimer reference 806 was introduced in 1954 and retired in 1972/73. The 806 can be credited as one of Breitling's most iconic and enduring watches. Navitimers of the modern era still carry the same look as the ref. 806.

What made the Navitimer popular, was not it's looks but it's usefulness. The Navitimer's distinguishing feature is the Slide-Rule bezel, borrowed from the 1942 Breitling Chronomat. You can think of a Slide-Rule as a mechanical calculator. The Slide-Rule was an incredibly useful feature for pilots back when there were no digital devices. The Slide-Rule on the Navitimers can be used to calculate a host of pilot-appropriate calculations including fuel consumption, air speed and distance. Apparently, some pilots are still trained to use them today should their equipment fail. 


Image Courtesy of WikiPedia


Don't ask me how to use the Slide-Rule because I don't know! I don't plan on ever learning either. What I will do is enjoy the beautiful tool look it lends the 806. 




The 806 is offered in a very wide range of dial bezel and slide rule configurations makinfinding your ultimate 806 a nerds dream. It can also make finding a truly original piece challenging. The first run of 806s came with the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) logo on the dial. Later versions came with the "Twin Jets" logo. Also, earlier models carried all-black dials while later models had Panda dials.



Image Courtesy of Fratello Watches



Another key difference between the earlier models of the 806 and the later models is the bezel. The earlier models had "beaded" bezels while the later Twin Jets Models had ridged bezels. 


                                              Image Courtesy of WannaBuyAWatch


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