March 21, 1999: balloonists Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones landed their Breitling Orbiter 3 in a remote region of the Egyptian desert. In doing so, they became the first people to circumnavigate the globe non-stop in a balloon.
March 21, 2019: Breitling, sponsors of the journey, celebrated the feat with the launch of the Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition, a SuperQuartz™ timepiece with features worthy of a scientific and aeronautical milestone.
The Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition has been crafted from black carbon-coated titanium and is limited to 213 pieces, a number chosen to commemorate the date the Breitling Orbiter 3 landed in Egypt – 21.3. – 20 days after it had taken off from Château-d’Œx in the Swiss Alps.
The watch comes on an orange rubber strap with a folding clasp and features an orange dial. The numerals, indexes, and hands are coated with luminescent Super-LumiNova®, which makes them legible in any lighting conditions.
The screwed titanium caseback reveals an image of a balloon superimposed on a globe and the words “BREITLING ORBITER 3”. Around its perimeter is the legend, “FIRST NON-STOP FLIGHT AROUND THE WORLD – 20TH ANNIVERSARY – ETANCHE 100 M” as well as the limited-edition number (1 OF 213).
The watch is powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B50: a thermocompensated SuperQuartz™ analog and digital display movement. Designed in-house, it delivers ten times the accuracy of a standard quartz watch.
The Cockpit B50 Orbiter is a COSC-certified chronometer that includes functions that will prove useful even on the most extreme missions. In addition to the chronograph with split-time and fly-back capabilities, this model features a second time-zone display, a perpetual calendar, two alarms with buzzer and/or vibrate mode, a lap timer function and a countdown complete with its own alarm.
The Cockpit B50 Orbiter is also equipped with an electronic tachymeter, a count-down/count-up system, and a chrono flight device, which records flight times by memorizing departure and arrival times as well as the date.
Another special feature is the Cockpit B50 Orbiter’s use of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which enables the watch to ensure the smooth transition of time zones for frequent travelers. This function can also be used to switch between the time displayed by the hands and that of the second timezone shown on the screen simply by pressing a pusher, with the system automatically taking account of a potential date change.
The watch has many other functions and features, yet it is user-friendly, with an intuitive, logical, and consistent control system, featuring function selection via crown rotation and activation/deactivation with its two pushers.