A little over 20 years ago on March 21, 1999, balloonists Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones safely 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. Today, Breitling – who sponsored the unique journey – will celebrate this feat of human ingenuity with the Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition, a SuperQuartz™ timepiece with features worthy of a truly scientific and aeronautical milestone.
The feature-packed Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition SuperQuartz™ watch was presented at Baselworld, exactly 20 years after the Breitling Orbiter 3 set down in Egypt. Balloonists Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones accomplished something widely thought to be impossible. And on each pilot’s wrist, a Breitling Emergency was worn.
For Bertrand Piccard, the collaboration with Breitling combines friendship and loyalty.
“When I started to dream of flying around the world non-stop in a balloon, Breitling supported me with passion. Now, 20 years later, we are still partnering through the Solar Impulse Foundation to create solutions for a better quality of life on this planet. Therefore, the new Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition is not only celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Breitling Orbiter 3, it is projecting us into new dimensions to explore.”
Circumnavigating the globe in a balloon was considered to be the final great adventure of the twentieth century. In total, ten teams of prominent personalities tried 21 times to reach this Holy Grail. Bertrand Piccard himself failed twice in 1997 and 1998 before attempting the third flight with Brian Jones.
The balloonists successfully landed in the Egyptian desert on March 21, 1999, after traveling 45,755 km in 19 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes, thereby achieving the longest flight in the history of aviation in terms of both distance and duration.
The Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition is forged 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 featuring an orange dial. The numerals, indexes, and hands are coated with luminescent Super-LumiNova®, which makes them legible in any lighting conditions.
On its distinctive screwed titanium case back are 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).
Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter
The watch is powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B50: a thermo-compensated SuperQuartz™ analog and digital display movement designed in-house that 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 particularly useful even on the most extreme missions. In addition to the chronograph with split-time and flyback capabilities, this model features a second timezone 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 equipped with an electronic tachymeter, a countdown/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 juggling of timezones 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.
With numerous other functions and features it remains user-friendly, with an intuitive, logical, and consistent control system with function selection via crown rotation and activation/deactivation with its two pushers. In addition, interface messages appear on the screen to guide the user through various operations.
US$7,500 to US$8,500
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