In 1884, Leon Breitling opened a small workshop in St. Imier, Switzerland where he focused on making precision chronographs as instruments for professionals. Very soon after, Leon Breitling gained a certain notoriety for producing timekeeping instruments of the highest order and accuracy. The brand grew and grew until in 1962 they came upon their greatest challenge – producing a watch that would stand up to the unknown rigors of space. Breitling embraced this challenge and so the Cosmonaute came into being.
The Cosmonaute orbited the earth three times on the wrist of Lieutenant Commander Scott Carpenter on May 24th 1962. The Cosmonaute, essentially, is an adaptation of the Navitimer with the famous slide rule which allows the pilot to make all of the necessary algorithmic calculations throughout his or her journey. What separates the Cosmonaute from the Navitimer is the 24 hour readout of the dial. In space the concept of night and day as sunlight and darkness is moot, with the Cosmonaute it gives the wearer a clear and definitive time in military format.
This year the Cosmonaute has gotten a new case made from the highly resistant Black Steel. Black Steel uses carbon to strengthen the stainless steel while at the same time giving it its title color. The case dimensions are 43mm which is just a shade smaller than the regular Cosmonaute in current production. The Black Steel comes in a numbered limited series of 1000 pieces worldwide. The case back also features the Aurora Mission 7 insignia adding to the collectability of this stunning timepiece.
As with all Breitlings, the Cosmonaute Black Steel uses a cambered sapphire crystal which has been glare proofed on both sides, as well as, Superluminova hands and hour markers for unhindered night time viewing. The Cosmonaute Black Steel is certified by the COSC as a chronometer. The COSC is the official testing bureau for the accuracy of Swiss made watches. To earn this certification, watches are submitted to a battery of tests for 15 days and 14 nights.
The movement for this piece is the in house Calibre B02 which features both a column wheel and a vertical coupling clutch. This Breitling watch has a power reserve of 70 hours and is water resistant to 3 bars (30 meters). The Cosmonaute is outfitted with the Ocean Racer rubber strap which uses a black steel tang type buckle.