Watches

Breitling and Cathay Pacific Launch a Special Navitimer Watch

If you’re a born and raised Hong Konger, you pretty much grew up with Cathay Pacific. And two events that occurred recently really brought home the fact.

One, when the government announced – at long last! – that mandatory hotel quarantine won’t be necessary for arrivals into the city. Three years of travel suppression inevitably led to the breakdown of Cathay Pacific’s website as people clamoured to book their flight tickets out of here and into Japan. We Hong Kongers, without a doubt, love to fly. And when we do, we love to fly Cathay Pacific.

The second was at Breitling’s recent pop-up at Pacific Place. On the occasion of the Navitimer 70th anniversary, Breitling and Cathay also debuted its latest collaboration watch. They didn’t need to print the Cathay name on the watch – the dial itself, resplendent in the airline’s signature jade green colour, said it all.

Alvin Soon and Paul Smitton

Alvin Soon, the President of Breitling Asia, agrees that the colour is uniquely Cathay. “It doesn’t exist in the colour code of Breitling,” he says. “Even in the watch industry, you seldom see this colour. Pantone calls this colour jade, and we gave it to our supplier and asked if they can do it. It took them a while to finally get the colour right, the difficult part was to get it right even under different types of lighting.”

Breitling has worked with other airlines too, including Singapore Airlines and Swiss Air, as part of the 70th year celebration of the Navitimer, but Soon says of the Breitling Navitimer B01 Cathay Pacific Limited Edition: “To me, this is for sure one of the most unique Navitimer I’ve seen in a long time.”

Breitling Navitimer B01 Cathay Pacific Limited Edition

The Navitimer made its debut in 1952, and quickly became a favourite amongst aviators and trendsetters alike. The Navitimer incorporated the analogue slide rule on the periphery of its dial, which allowed pilots to calculate their airspeed, rate of climb and descent, distance and so on. Alongside the notched bezel for easy grip, baton indexes and chronograph counters, the Navitimer easily became the de facto pilots’ watch. In the early days of civil aviation, the original Navitimer even bore the logo of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). These days, the winged logo is still just as recognisably Breitling as its more modern replacement, the letter B in a vintage-style cursive script.

Since last year, Cathay dropped Pacific from its master branding to focus on building itself up as a premium lifestyle brand. Paul Smitton, Director of Customer Lifestyle at Cathay Pacific Airways, who’s in charge of the company’s travel lifestyle initiatives, says that with Breitling celebrating its 70th year with the Navitimer, and Cathay celebrating its 75th year, it was a timely and authentic partnership. “Breitling has such a great aviation heritage and it was really lovely to collaborate using our iconic jade on the watch,” he says. “The jade is a really strong branding for us, as well as the brushstroke logo. People tend to immediately associate that brush logo with Cathay, it’s a lovely kind of representation of flying and sort of a Chinese painting style.”

Breitling Navitimer B01 Cathay Pacific Limited Edition

The Cathay logo is placed discreetly on the caseback of the 43mm steel Navitimer B01 watch, alongside the engraved words “Cathay Pacific Edition” and its individual number out of 200. Visible from the transparent caseback is the COSC-certified Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01.

The special co-branded timepiece, expressing both companies’ love of aviation and travel, is available for pre-order at the Cathay shop and selected Breitling boutiques in Hong Kong.

Stephanie Ip

A print and multimedia journalist, Stephanie has written for several of Hong Kong's most prominent luxury lifestyle publications on topics spanning watches and jewellery, travel, beauty, and fashion. She lives an active lifestyle, is always curious about the next health trend, but will never turn down a drink, or two, or three.

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