Breitling SA was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling in Saint-Imier. He focused on chronographs, which were in demand for industrial, military, and scientific applications and for athletic organisations. When Léon Breitling passed away in 1914, his son Gaston took over the family business. Inheriting his fathers pioneering spirit he launched the world’s first chronograph with a separate button above the crown. When Gaston passed away unexpectedly in 1927 an external team managed the company as his son, Willy, was only 14 years old.

In 1979 the brand was sold to Ernest Schneider, watchmaker and entrepreneur whose family looked after the brand until 2017. In that year Breitling became part of CVC Capital Partners and Georges Kern (former CEO of IWC) was appointed CEO.


Breitling was founded by Léon Breitling in the Swiss city of Saint-Imier.
Launch of one the world’s first wrist watch chronographs with separate pusher which was located above the crown.
Introduction of a patented chronograph pocket watch with two pushers
Willy Breitling took leadership in the company while still being very young of age. He was only 14 when his father passed away in 1927.
Willy Breitling filed the patent for the world's first wrist chronograph with two pushers.
Breitling was granted the patent for the Chronomat, which is characterized by a patented rotating slide rule for technicians and scientists.
Breitling launches their first dive watch which has a case that is water-resistant up to 200 meters.
Willy Breitling participated in the development of the world’s first micro-rotor automatic chronograph in cooperation with Jack Heuer, the Büren-based movement manufacturer, and Dubois-Dépraz.
Breitling introduced quartz versions of the Navitimer.
Willy Breitling sold the remaining assets to Ernest Schneider
The company headquarters is relocated to Grenchen.
Launch of the first wristwatch that was equipped with an integrated emergency transmitter. The Breitling Emergency.
Breitling introduces their in-house developed B01 chronograph movement
CVC Capital Partners acquires Breitling and Georges Kern moves over from IWC
Breitling introduces new collections, including the Navitimer 8.

Did you know?


Since 2017, Breitling and Tudor exchange movements (B01 chronograph for Tudor, MT5612 for Breitling


The annual production for Breitling watches


Astronaut Scott Carpenter wore a Breitling in space in 1952
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