FUNKE OSAE-BROWN, Baselworld, Switzerland
Breitling celebrates 20 years of Orbiter 3 at this year’s edition of Baselworld in Switzerland.
20 years ago on March 21, 1999, balloonists Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones landed their Breitling Orbiter 3 in a remote region of the Egyptian desert. In doing so, they became the first people to circumnavigate the globe non-stop in a balloon.
As sponsors of the journey, Breitling celebrates the feat with the launch of the Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition, a SuperQuartz™ timepiece with features worthy of a scientific and aeronautical milestone.
The Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition is crafted from black carbon-coated titanium and is limited to 213 pieces, a number chosen to commemorate the date the Breitling Orbiter 3 landed in Egypt – 21.3. – 20 days after it had taken off from Château-d’Œx in the Swiss Alps.
The watch comes on an orange rubber strap with a folding clasp and features an orange dial. The numerals, indexes, and hands are coated with luminescent Super-LumiNova®, which makes them legible in any lighting conditions.
Speaking at a Question and Answer session at the Baselworld moderated by Urs Gredig, Bertrand Piccard said Breitling watch is part of the emergency plan for his journey.
“It is incredible how time has moved. When I was presenting the orbiter 3, I had to explain what GPS is,” he said. You must be transparent with everything. Carrying along with each other is very important. We took off as pilot, we flew as friends we returned as brothers.”
While speaking on how the next generation can succeed with such adventure he said: “The new generation will succeed if it has pioneering spirit because the feature will change. You will need to challenge to create and substitute you must be completely open to do something different. Otherwise life will be dark and dangerous.”
With Bertrand’s experience 20 years ago, Breitling is now supporting explorers who are on a mission to make the world better.
“I am a better man than I was 20 years ago,” explained Bertrand. Orbiter was a personal dream. I have learnt about human beings and what makes them successful. It has to do so much with the spirit of exploration. Human beings are poor in life if they restrict themselves and refuse to embrace change and thing if what they can do better or change.
If our generation doesn’t destroy the world completely then the young generation can develop itself. I really enjoy meeting young people I hope This will inspire them to think outside the box.”
The new watch comes with screwed titanium caseback that reveals an image of a balloon superimposed on a globe and the words “BREITLING ORBITER 3”. Around its perimeter is the legend, “FIRST NON-STOP FLIGHT AROUND THE WORLD – 20TH ANNIVERSARY – ETANCHE 100 M” as well as the limited-edition number (1 OF 213).
The watch is powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B50: a thermocompensated SuperQuartz™ analog and digital display movement. Designed in-house, it delivers ten times the accuracy of a standard quartz watch.
The Cockpit B50 Orbiter is a COSC-certified chronometer that includes functions that will prove useful even on the most extreme missions. In addition to the chronograph with split-time and fly-back capabilities, this model features a second time-zone display, a perpetual calendar, two alarms with buzzer and/or vibrate mode, a lap timer function and a countdown complete with its own alarm.
The Cockpit B50 Orbiter is also equipped with an electronic tachymeter, a count-down/count-up system, and a chrono flight device, which records flight times by memorizing departure and arrival times as well as the date.
Another special feature is the Cockpit B50 Orbiter’s use of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), which enables the watch to ensure the smooth transition of time zones for frequent travelers. This function can also be used to switch between the time displayed by the hands and that of the second timezone shown on the screen simply by pressing a pusher, with the system automatically taking account of a potential date change.