In 1821 King Louis XVIII requested a device that would allow him to determine the exact length of the horse races he frequently enjoyed. Shortly thereafter, a man named Nicolas Rieussec invented the first commercialized chronograph, derived from the Greek words for time and for writing. Though Rieussec is widely credited with the invention of the chronograph, the first mechanism of this variety was created in 1776 by a man named Jean-Moyez Pouzait as a means to record the flights of projectiles. This model utilized a small pen attached to the index that would mark the watch dial. The length of the mark recorded signified the length of time that had passed—a far cry from the modern analog and digital chronographs employed today.
In 1884, Leon Breitling opened a workshop in
exclusively devoted to the development of chronographs and timers. The workshop produced a number of significant
improvements to the device, including the first chronograph operated by an
independent push-piece in 1915. In 1923,
Breitling further advanced the use of the push-piece by separating the reset
from the start/stop functions, and later adding a second push-piece for this
purpose—a staple in chronograph design today.
This advancement allowed the chronograph to time several events
consecutively without resetting the watch hands to zero, a feature that proved
particularly useful for timing sports competitions and flights.
Breitling boasts perhaps the most significant chronograph milestone in 1969 with the production of the first self-winding chronograph. Other highlights include the first mechanical chronograph, incorporated in their best-selling Chronomat series, and the Caliber 01, the most accurate self-winding chronograph currently on the market, manufactured completely in house by Breitling workshops. Due to their innovations in precise, dependable movements and timers essential to piloting and aerospace expeditions, Breitling has been named the official supplier of world aviation timepieces. In 1962, Breitling’s Navitimer became the first wrist chronograph to travel in space, accompanying Scott Carpenter on his flight in the
7 capsule. Breitling is the only major watch brand that includes
chronometer-certified movements in all of its models and is one of the last
independently-owned Swiss watch companies remaining. Check
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