The Breitling Cosmonaute was born in 1959, after Lt. Scott Carpenter was selected as one of seven astronauts for the NASA Mercury program. Carpenter who wore a Breitling Navitimer (12-hour version) during his service during the 1950’s, after which, he allegedly contacts Breitling and suggested they make a 24-hour version of the Navitimer. In 1961, the 24-hour Navitimer was introduced by Breitling, and one was eventually given to Lt. Carpenter in 1962, and he can be seen wearing his Ref. 809 Navitimer before boarding the Aurora capsule on May 24, 1962.
The example offered here today is the first iteration of the Ref. 809 Cosmonaute, and the serial dates production to 1962. It stands out for it’s early “beaded” bezel, and lack of “Cosmonaute” on the dial, only showing the AOPA gilt wings and Navitimer, only seen on very early examples.
This Breitling Navitimer is in amazing condition. The case shows very light signs of polishing, with original bevels still in tact. The dial is perfect, extremely glossy, with no marks or scratches. The original radium lume is still present, aging to a golden yellow on the dial, and as usual with these Navitimers, a darker brown in the hands.
This watch has everything going for it – it is arguably the rarest of the Navitimers, and is in exceptionally well-preserved condition.