On March 21, 1999, balloonists Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones safely 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. Twenty years, Breitling – who sponsored the unique journey – celebrates this incredible feat of human ingenuity with the Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition, a SuperQuartz™ timepiece with features worthy of a true scientific and aeronautical milestone.
Circumnavigating the globe in a balloon was considered as the final great adventure of the twentieth century. In total, ten teams of prominent personalities tried 21 times to reach this Holy Grail. Bertrand Piccard himself failed twice in 1997 and 1998 before attempting the third flight with Brian Jones.
The balloonists successfully landed in the Egyptian desert on March 21, 1999, after traveling 45,755 km in 19 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes, thus achieving the longest flight in the history of aviation in terms of both distance and duration. Balloonists Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones accomplished something widely thought to be impossible. And on each pilot’s wrist was a Breitling Emergency.
The Breitling Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition has been crafted from striking 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.
Presented on an orange rubber strap with a folding clasp and featuring an orange dial, the Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition will stand out in any crowd. The numerals, indexes, and hands are coated with luminescent Super-LumiNova®, which makes them legible in any lighting conditions.
On its distinctive screwed titanium caseback are 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 that 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 particularly useful even on the most extreme missions.
In addition to the chronograph with split-time and flyback capabilities, this model features a second timezone 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 equipped with an electronic tachymeter, a countdown/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 juggling of timezones 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.
The Cockpit B50 Orbiter has numerous other functions and features – the ones presented here are just the beginning –, but it is particularly user-friendly, with an intuitive, logical, and consistent control system, featuring function selection via crown rotation and activation/deactivation with its two pushers. This impeccable user-friendliness is complemented by the interface messages appearing on the screens to guide the user through the various operations.
Model: Cockpit B50 Orbiter Limited Edition
Caliber: Breitling Manufacture Caliber B50
Diameter: 33 millimeters
Depth: 9.05 millimeters
Movement: SuperQuartzTM thermo-compensated quartz, electronic, analog and 12/24-hour LCD digital display, backlighting (white light), battery state-of-charge indicator
Power reserve: 10 years of battery life
Chronograph: 1/100th second, max. 99 hours, 59 minutes, 59 seconds, flyback function, electronic tachymeter, chronograph (lap timer, flight times)
Other functions: countdown timer, 2 daily alarms, countdown/count-up system (max. 99 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes, 59.99 seconds) with independent alarm, UTC world time
Calendar: digital, perpetual, with week indication
Material: black titanium
Diameter: 46 millimeters
Height: 16.45 millimeters
Water resistance: up to 10 bar (100 meters)
Glass: sapphire, convex, double anti-reflective
Caseback: screwed black titanium
Crown: non-screw-locked, two gaskets, integrated pushpiece
Bezel: bidirectional, compass scale
Super-LumiNova® luminescent numerals, indexes, and hands
Orange rubber strap with folding clasp