Breitling Watches began in a workshop owned by Leon Breitling in 1884. Leon began his business in St. Imier. St. Imier is a small province in Switzerland, a rather secluded and peaceful place for Leon to design his first chronography timepiece. As the business grew, and Leon was awarded with a patent for his version of a chronography watch, he was able to employ more people and to produce watches to keep up with the demands of the business. Still, he kept the business in St. Imier. Even after Leon passed away in 1914, his son Gaston, and Gaston’s son Willy, kept the business located in St. Imier, Switzerland.
Change of Scenery
The biggest change of location came in the 1980’s, when Breitling Watches moved its headquarters from St. Imier to Gretchen, Switzerland. Earlier, in 1979, Breitling watches was bought by Ernest Schneider, removing the business from Breitling hands just a few years short of the 100th anniversary of the company. The company formally moved it’s headquarters from St. Imier to Gretchen in 1982. Ever since, the company has kept its headquarters there.
Breitling Watches, being the name-brand they are, undergo many tests and very meticulous work. Each watch is made in Switzerland, by one of over a thousand expert watchmakers employed by the company. The company is also very scrupulous about their material providers. They take nothing but the best titanium and metals to be turned into their cases, hands, and watch faces.
After the watch is made, completely in Switzerland, it must be certified, so that it can proudly display the “Made in Switzerland” stamp that it proudly bears. The watch undergoes a gamut of tests, such as a bezel rotation, automatic winding tests, power reserve and calendar operations. Breitling Watches announced that each of their watches, in total, undergo somewhere around 1,000 tests before they are put into the customer’s hands, or rather, wrists.
Lab for Brainstorming
Given that it is a company that has lasted over 100 years, Breitling Watches is keen on continuing to develop innovations that will keep it on the forefront of the market. So, while the watches may be made in Gretchen, the research and development department of Breitling operates out of La Chaux-de-Fonds, a municipality in Switzerland. It is here that the watches go through numerous rounds of conceptual design and engineering. Only once a practical product is produced, does it make its way to Gretchen for assembly. So, from the very conception of each watch, to the testing and creation, each Breitling Watch is made entirely in Switzerland, so that it can fully embrace the proud history and meaning behind being a “Swiss made” chronographic watch.