Breitling's new Red Arrows watch is cleared for takeoff
Every watch brand has a pilot watch. Not many appear on the wrists of actual pilots. Breitling, however, does both better than almost anyone else.
For those of us who only ever take to the skies with a bloody mary in hand, Breitling has all manner of lovely flight-referencing watches, stuff with functions that you can explain to the person sat next to you, but which you'll likely never have much reason to use. If you actually sit in the cockpit, then a Breitling could well save your life.
That goes doubly for those pilots for whom life-risking is a daily part of the job. For the last 25 years, every Red Arrows pilot has strapped him- or herself into their ejector seat with a Breitling chronograph on their wrist. A version of the brand's Emergency, the watch contains a dual-frequency personal location beacon (PLB) wound around the dial. Should the wearer crash land, they can signal their location and their colleagues can scramble a rescue helicopter to come and get them.
It's a very clever function, but not one likely to get much use if you don't spend much time making a plane do things that don't seem possible. Which is why, for the rest of us, Breitling has crafted a limited-edition version of its Avenger packed with Red Arrows DNA, but which is more at home under a tailored suit than a flight suit.
As you'd expect, the aerobatic team's signature colour is front and centre in the (arrow-shaped) GMT hand and second markers that circle the blue dial, on the left of which you'll spot the Diamond Nine, a nod to the Red Arrows' signature flying formation.
lip the watch over and you'll find the Red Arrows insignia engraved on the caseback, as well as the edition number – only 220 are being made. Beneath the hood, things get cleverer still. The Red Arrows Avenger is powered by Breitling's in-house Caliber 32, which is chronometer-certified and boasts a 42-hour power reserve (handy if you do end up getting stranded somewhere). As a further nod to the watch's aviation inspiration, the oversized crown is engraved with a special grip pattern, which makes it operable even when wearing gloves.
Even if the closest you ever come to airborne adventure is a surprise first-class upgrade, with this on your wrist, you'll always look the part.
The Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 45 Red Arrows is available now from breitling.com, priced £3,950