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The First World War: Longines and Breitling Watches

The First World War, also known as the First World War, the Great War, the World War (prior to the outbreak of the Second World War) and the War to End All Wars, was a global military conflict which involved most of the world’s great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies of World War I centred around the Triple Entente and the Central Powers, centred around the Triple Alliance. More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history. More than 15 million people were killed, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in history.

By the war’s end, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires—had been militarily and politically defeated, with the last two ceasing to exist. The revolutionized Soviet Union emerged from the Russian Empire, while the map of central Europe was completely redrawn into numerous smaller states. The League of Nations was formed in the hope of preventing another such conflict. The European nationalism spawned by the war, the repercussions of Germany’s defeat, and of the Treaty of Versailles would eventually lead to the beginning of World War II in 1939.

There were many wristwatch companies that grew significantly prior to the First World War such as Breitling or Longines, as many others.

Breitling, the wristwatch manufacturer of the world’s finest men’s timepieces, was formed in 1884 by Leon Breitling, who set up the company at the tender age of 24 in Switzerland. Together with The First World War, when aviation combat machine took off, Breitling turned its attention to the aviation field, to being able to time keep it. Then, as the Second World War came, they introduced the famous “Chronomat” watch which was the first in the world to be fitted with a circular slide rule to aid with navigation. The peak of Breitling’s success came in 1962, when astronaut Scott Carpenter wore one of their watches in space – this watch became known as the “Cosmonaute” and is a very highly sought after timepiece today.
Breitling wristwatches remain the first choice of most of today’s commercial and professional aviators and new models such as the Breitling Emergency which sends out a radio distress signal if the wearer becomes lost, continue to keep the brand at the forefront of technology as well as style.

On the other hand, Longines’ World War Two Pilot’s Wristwatch, with a Wheem’s aircraft navigational calculation bezel, gets to be a quite rare Longines Aircraft Navigation watch. Pioneered and developed by Longines during the 1930’s, with consultation from Charles Lindbergh, the famous American aviator who was the first pilot to cross the Atlantic solo and non stop. It was discontinued for a more convenient and easier-to-read version, which is a lot more common.

Longines’ World War Two Pilot’s Wristwatch was worn by one of the pilots responsible for transporting military aircraft across the North Atlantic to Great Britain during the early years of World War II.  Transporting aircraft on this route was a dangerous responsibility because of the extreme weather conditions and the very difficult navigation problems. Dead-accurate time was of the utmost importance to make pinpoint landings.

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Filed under: breitling, Breitling Watches, Longines, Longines Watch, Longines Watches, Longines World War Two, Lost, Luxury, Luxury Watch, luxury watches, The First World War, Timepiece, wristwatches

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