Breitling has produced some of the most beloved luxury adventure watches because of their lovely aesthetics, and the prestige of the name, but there’s much more to it for brand loyals who understand the value of a Breitling. The Montbrilliant and the Navitimer are two such lines. The question has often been asked by those who can’t decide between the two, “Breitling Montbrilliant vs Navitimer, who wins? It comes down to which line has the most appeal in terms of functionality, comfort and attractiveness. Until you really dissect each of these similar collections, it’s hard to know which has the most value for an individual. We’ve compared the features and advantages of each to help you determine which would be the best choice.
The Montbrilliant is a collection of several variants within the line and this gives you a range of choices in metals, styles and functions. One thing within each remains a constant. that is the chronograph functionality. The Breitling brand has avoided falling into the habit of using third party movements, and remarkably, defaults to powering Montbrilliants with their own calibers. For purposes of detailed comparison, we’ve chosen a good representation for the Montbrilliant in the 01 Chronograph example
The Montbrilliant 01 Chronograph
This watch made its initial appearance at Baselworld in 2011. The stir over this timepiece was the new Caliber 01 Breitling’s in-house movement. This replaced the Valjoux 775x line of power plants. The Montbrilliant line became the recipient of this new caliber featuring Breitling mechanisms. The case of the Montbrilliant 01 Chronograph is made of stainless steel in a 40 mm width and depth of 13.50 mm with a flat profile and a fluted bezel. The fit of this watch is best for those with a flat wrist as it’s a bit uncomfortable for those with a round wrist.
The Caliber B01 is an in-house Breitling that is lovely to behold. It’s an innovative piece that is small in size but powerful enough to satisfy the requirements of the chronograph complications.It’s an automatic beating at 28,800 vibrations per hour with 47 jewels. This Swiss made movement is COSC certified with 1/100th seconds chronograph , hours, minutes, seconds, and date. The power reserve is 70 hours.
Other key features
The legibility of the watch is the next feature we turn to. There is no luminous coating applied to the hour markers. When reading the watch in the dark, there is a definite deficit.The Silver dial would otherwise make it difficult to see the stainless steel hands, but the mirrored finish makes them stand out nicely. The central 1/100th of a second chronograph counter is featured in red. It’s water-resistant to 30 meters. Sapphire crystals protect the front and the back of the Montbrilliant. The exhibition case back allows you to see the inner workings of the mechanical movement. It comes with a leather strap.
There is a variant that replaces the stainless steel with 18K rose gold in a limited edition of just 200 numbered pieces. 2,000 of the stainless version were made, making either choice a collectible. The rose gold versions are the most rare. The MSRP is between $6,000 to $8,000.
The Navitimer line made its first appearance in 1952. It was inspired by the brand’s Chronomat model, but it soon evolved into an aviator’s watch. The Navitimer was a timepiece, but it also embodied the features that provided pilots with an instrument for navigational calculations at a touch thanks to the slide rule bezel. Aesthetically, the original Navitimers displayed the log of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. The watch evolved through the decades, starting with a Venus 178 movement with a Valjoux 72, moving to a Valjoux 7740 towards the end of the 1960s era and retained this movement, adding a date eventually.
Navitimer Chronograph A23322 and World GMT A24322
For the purposes of comparison, the Navitimer Chronograph A23322 was chosen. It has a 42 mm case made of stainless steel, featuring the slide rule bezel. The dial is large, making it easier to read during daylight hours. The World GMT A24322 has a 46 mm case with a GMT hour hand for a second time zone.
The Navitimer is an adventure and aviation watch that allows for fast calculations for navigational purposes. This modern example also features a date complication with sub dials indicating the chronograph functions.
Other key features
Most Navitimers within these two variants include metal bracelets made of the same material as the case. They’re available in a choice of white, blue, or black dials. Sharing the B01 in-house chronograph movement, each are Swiss made and COSC certified. The power reserve is 42 hours and the water resistance is up to 30 meters. Some differences in the placement of the sub dials and date window exist between the two models, but it doesn’t affect functionality.
Navitimer has had its share of special limited edition models through the ages. The Navitimer limited edition is a remake of the 1954 original Navitimer, but sales were limited to Japan with only 400 pieces ever made. The price range of the Navitimer is roughly between $6,000 and $8,000 depending on the age, condition and variant.
Breitling Navitimer Montbrilliant H41330
Both watches combined in one?
The Navitimer Montbrilliant is a pilot’s watch delivered in your choice of stainless steel, or the more luxurious and elegant 18K rose gold case. The Montbrilliant is powered by an automatic Breitling 41 movement with a date complication. This example features a case of 38 mm in width for a smaller profile. It’s available with a leather strap or a metal bracelet. The stainless steel version is more affordable than the 18K rose gold version so there are two options for any budget concerns.
Comparing the Montbrilliant with the Navitimer
The Montbrilliant collection was derived from the Navitimer collection. The Navitimer stands as one of the most significant lines in the history of Breitling. From a historical perspective, each have secured a notable position in the history of the brand. The Montbrilliant 01 was the first to be equipped with the Breitling Calibre 01.
When we review the facts, the Montbrilliant is a relative of the iconic Navitimer. Although both are significant models in the history of horology, it’s a matter of personal preference, which is the best. In general the price ranges are about the same, heavily dependent on the model selected and collectibility. The vintage versions are worth what a collector is willing to pay. To make a decision one would really need to inspect the individual watches, try them on, and decide which offers the greatest appeal at the moment.