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Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter Celebrates 25th Anniversary of Balloon World Record

Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

There’s one thing the watch industry loves even more than watches and that’s an anniversary to celebrate. Whether it’s a brand’s birthday, a special event or the creation of a specific model. One of the most unusual anniversaries to be celebrated is the one that the new Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter is dedicated to – the 25th anniversary of the first nonstop balloon flight around the world.

Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

The landmark flight, which took place in 1999, was sponsored by Breitling and the balloon bore the name Breitling Orbiter 3. It took 20 days for the balloon to circumnavigate the globe, starting in the Swiss Alps and eventually completing its journey in the deserts of Egypt. The pilots were Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones, who had to maintain a rigorous schedule of eight hours manning the balloon solo, eight hours with both pilots awake and eight hours sleeping. There is a portion of the actual balloon from the flight housed in each of the Aerospace B70 Orbiter watches, visible through the caseback.

Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

As for watch’s specs, it’s a 43mm diameter timepiece in titanium with an ana-digi display. Ana-digi means it has both traditional analogue display elements as well as digital readouts. This can be seen on the watch’s orange dial (colour matched to the capsule of the Orbiter 3), which features central hours and minutes and then two screens for a variety of functions including 1/100th of a second chronograph, countdown timer, dual time zone, calendar and alarm.

Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

The Aerospace B70 Orbiter is the type of practical watch you would actually want to wear on a record-breaking expedition rather than something like a Rolex Explorer. Sure, the Rolex looks awesome and is accurate for a mechanical watch, but it severely lacks in terms of raw utility and reliability compared to the digital functions of the Breitling.

Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

Powering the new watch is a new movement, whose name shouldn’t be a surprise because it’s the B70. It’s described as a thermo-compensated SuperQuartz™ analogue and digital display movement that delivers 10 times the accuracy of a standard quartz watch. It even has COSC chronometer status. You can’t see the movement as it’s obscured by the section of balloon material covering the caseback.

Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter

Pricewise, the Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter is £3,800. That might seem like a lot for a quartz watch but it’s important to remember that the difference between this and a common quartz movement is massive. Plus, there’s the story and legacy of the Orbiter 3 to consider as well, which is theoretically priceless.

Price and Specs:

Model: Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter
Ref: EB70101A1O1E1 (bracelet), EB70101A1O1S1 (rubber strap)
Case: 43mm diameter x 12.95mm thickness, titanium
Dial: Orange
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Breitling calibre B70, SuperQuartz
Functions: Hours, minutes, chronograph, calendar, alarm
Strap: Titanium bracelet or black rubber with folding clasp
Price: £3,800 (rubber strap) or £3,950 (bracelet)

More details at Breitling.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.