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Breitling - Navitimer Rattrapante

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Few watch brands have their own mechanical chronograph movements. Fewer still also offer a proprietary split-seconds movement developed and produced in-house.

Unlike a standard chronograph, the split-seconds or rattrapante chronograph has two hands that start simultaneously. The rattrapante hand, which is superimposed on the stopwatch hand, can be stopped independently using a third push-button, while the stopwatch hand continues to run. This permits the user to record two separate times within any given minute. If the third button is pushed again, the split-seconds hand instantaneously catches up (rattraper in French) and is synchronised with the other hand.

The major challenge for the developers of a split-seconds chronograph movement relates to the level of energy. The constant stopping and starting of the split-seconds hand results in variable energy requirements that can prove detrimental to chronometric precision and reduce a watch’s power reserve.


One of the means of resolving this issue consists in equipping the movement with an isolating system
serving to disconnect the split-seconds hand when it is stopped. This was the approach chosen by Breitling. However, the brand engineers and watchmakers revisited the construction of the split-seconds mechanism in order to achieve a more reliable and effective solution by introducing two innovations for which patents have been filed.

The first breakthrough relates to the isolating system. The component driving the split-seconds lever normally takes the form of a cylindrical pin: an organ that is complex to produce below a certain diameter. Breitling has replaced this pin by a stamped part enabling it to achieve a more precisely defined shape, as well as enhanced sturdiness. Thanks to this isolating system, the use of the split seconds hand has no impact on the precision of the timing, nor on the power reserve.


The second innovation concerns the mechanism for stopping the split-seconds hand. Watchmakers traditionally use a wheel (either smooth or with extremely fine toothing) that is clamped in place. This system is complicated to produce and can lead to a certain degree of inaccuracy. Inspired by cycle brakes equipped with rubber pads, Breitling’s engineers had the idea of surrounding the wheel with an O-ring seal that would be compressed by the clamp. This results in extremely precise stopping and a system that is simpler to produce and thus more reliable.

In developing its selfwinding split-seconds chronograph Caliber B03, Breitling worked on the basis of its 4 Hz (28,800 mph) Breitling Caliber 01 which offers a 70-hour power reserve (guaranteeing enhanced rating regularity) as well as a flexible modular-type architecture. Like all Breitling movements, the Manufacture Breitling Caliber B03 is chronometer-certified by the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute).


The split-seconds module comprises just 28 parts, simplifying production and assembly, but also
maintenance – thanks to the possibility to remove the module as a single block for any servicing or repairs.

To present this new movement, Breitling has chosen its famous Navitimer model.

Equipped with a 45 mm case, the Navitimer Rattrapante comes in steel as well as a 250-piece red gold limited edition (equipped with a transparent caseback). Both watches are distinguished by their exclusive bronze-coloured dial with silver-toned counters and inner bezel.


The B logo with its anchor symbol generally adorning the base of the Navitimer chronograph hands is in this special model divided between the two seconds hands: with the B on the red chronograph hand and the anchor on the split-seconds hand. This way the two elements are separated when the split-seconds hand is stopped, before reforming the brand signature when the hands are again overlaid.


The split-seconds pusher, housed in the 3 o’clock crown, serves to stop and restart the split-seconds hand in order to measure split times or to compare the results of several competitors.

The Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante can be matched to leather, crocodile or rubber straps. Pricing: Euro 10,200 / US$ 11,090 in stainless steel and Euro 25,800 / US$ 32,895 in red gold. breitling.com


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