Leon Breitling started his company in 1884. He specialised in both timepieces and measuring equipment, which led to the company’s pioneering role in the development of the wrist chronograph. Gaston Breitling took over following his father’s death in 1914. Under his leadership, the company produced the first chronograph with two push pieces, allowing for the measurement of multiple times in sequence.
In the 1950s, Breitling turned their attention to aviation and diving watches. They launched the Breitling Navitimer in 1952; this was a timepiece designed with a flight-specific slide rule. It was an instant hit with pilots and has been an icon of aviation since. They then went on to launch two diving watches in 1957. Both watches were named Superocean, one with a chronograph, the other time only. Breitling has gone on to extend this range and now has two collections devoted to the original Superocean timepieces: the modern Superocean and the vintage-inspired Superocean Heritage.
In the 1970s, the Breitling family sold the company’s assets and familiar brand names to a visionary entrepreneur, Ernest Schneider, who continued to grow Breitling’s legacy.