NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - In this week's Lap of Luxury we visit Breitling, the iconic Swiss watchmaker that just launched its very first connected watch.
Breitling was born in 1884. Thierry Prissert, president of Breitling USA, says one of the most beautiful things about his brand, is that it's still a family-owned business. Breitling developed and originated the first chronograph watch, and has a heritage of making watches for pilots.
Prissert says aviation is in their DNA. At the Breitling store on 57th Street in Manhattan, that rich history in aviation is evident. Prissert says Breitling watches were used in British Air Force planes in World War II as navigation instruments.
In the 1940s, Breitling created its first wristwatch chronograph.
In 1952, they introduced a pilot's wristwatch, the Navitimer, which was able to perform flight calculations using a circular slide rule. You can see that same watch today in their store.
In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter took a 24-hour version of the Navitimer, called the Cosmonaut, into space. It's a tradition that continued with astronaut Mark Kelly who is now a brand ambassador.
Actor and pilot John Travolta, and soccer star David Beckham wear Breitlings, too. Not to mention, The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, whom Breitling honored last month with a limited edition gold chronomat watch with in-house movement. Wayne's jersey is on the subdial. Breitling made just 50 of the watches in honor of Gretzky's record--scoring 50 goals in just 39 games. Priced at $31,465, the watch sold out in less than two weeks.
It's just one of many special pieces that makes this Swiss family-owned business unique. Breitling also makes a watch with a beacon that can transmit a signal to call for help in an emergency. The first Emergency watch launched in 1995 and saved 20 lives.
Today Breitling has another hot item: the Exospace B55, its very first connected watch, a concept 18 months in the making. Breitling Vice President Jean-Paul Girardin says the watch is the latest innovation for Breitling, a real watch that gets help from your smartphone.
The Exospace B55 has special features for astronauts like countdowns and countups, which are also useful for sailing. It also has a lap timer great for race car drivers and runners. Change times zones with the push of a button. Notifications make sure you never miss an email or phone call. Starting at $8,900 this new connected watch is just one of the many ways Breitling is truly a luxury watch brand for the modern adventurer.