The first Navitimer Ref. 806 was introduced in the 1950s as a wrist instrument for both military and civil aviation. The above example Ref. 809 is an updated version of the first Navitimer and was born out of a request from an American astronaut, Commander Malcolm Scott Carpenter, to produce a timepiece that was appropriate for spaceflight. Ref. 809 was manufactured during early to mid-1960s and was nicknamed the “Cosmonaut”. The timepiece boasts a 24-hour dial made possible by modifications to the Venus 178 movement used in Ref. 806, with a slide rule bezel designed with the help of mathematician Marcel Robert. Over the years, the Navitimer has accompanied Breitling through the wax and wane of its brand and has firmly rooted itself as part of Breitling’s legacy as a manufacture dedicated to aviation timepieces. The Navitimer remains in production today albeit with updates and modifications since the first example produced in the 1960s.
There are several variations of Ref. 809 in terms of the dial, bezel, logo and material, with this particular example bearing a pair of “AOPA” wings in gilt on its dial in place of a Breitling logo. “WOG” is engraved on its movement as Wakmann Watch Co was the official distributor of Breitling in the US.