Wednesday Watch

Breitling Navitimer 01 versus TAG Heuer Carrera 1887

TAG Heuer Carrera 1887

An unusual request from one of our readers, but recently we received a question which watchmaker we’d prefer: TAG Heuer or Breitling.

Both manufacturers have a lot of things in common, they are obviously Swiss to start with, but also have a special focus on sports watches. Breitling has a strong focus on pilot’s watches while TAG Heuer is clearly geared more towards on car racing.

We took the liberty of doing a quick comparison between the legendary Breitling Navitimer and the – just as legendary – Carrera watch from TAG Heuer.

Both of these watches have a very different price tag, approximately 7800 USD for the Breitling Navitimer 01 and approximately 4600 USD for the TAG Heuer watch. Although these are list prices, the difference after bargaining is still significant.

Isn’t this like comparing a BMW 328i to an Audi A8? Perhaps, both brands are presenting a classic – or iconic even – timepiece with an in-house developed movement. Both brands have been relying on third party movements (e.g. ETA) for quite some time and have recently been introducing their own in-house chronograph movements with a lot of media attention.

These watches offer the same functionalities, represent a similar style, and are manufactured by big Swiss brands. Each are round sports watches with three sub registers (chronograph), a date feature, an automatic winding system and the choice of buying it on a leather strap or with a stainless steel bracelet.

Breitling Navitimer 01

So, is there a preference when it comes to quality? Is the more expensive Breitling Navitimer 01 that much better than the TAG Heuer?

These are questions that are difficult to answer. Not that we don’t want to, but we are not watchmakers who are able to judge the construction and finish of the movement’s parts that goes further than what our eyes are capable to recognize without watchmaking knowledge. These movements are workhorses and are not as delicate and highly finished as movements from, let’s say, Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin.

As for functionality and use, the caliber B01 movement of the Breitling Navitimer 01 and the caliber 1887 movement by TAG Heuer are surely up to the task. No doubt. One of the reasons to prefer the Breitling movement can be attributed to the high power reserve. You can put this watch away for approximately 70 hours before it stops. The TAG Heuer is approximately two days, and less when you keep the chronograph running.

The Breitling Navitimer 01 is a tad bit bigger than the TAG Heuer Carrera (43mm versus 41mm). Also, the Breitling Navitimer 01 has a slide rule bezel that rotates in both directions. This was used by (amongst others) pilots to calculate fuel consumption etc.

In the end, as you’ve already guessed, it is a matter of personal preference. Which watch suits you best; which brand you feel you has the best connection with; the sum of money you are willing to spend.

Breitling and TAG Heuer make both wonderful watches. Breitling is perhaps being regarded as somewhat higher up that ladder, but will you really experience that marginal difference? So, it might sound cliché, but just buy what you like best!

Breitling Navitimer 01 Specifications

Price: Approx. 7,800 USD
Movement: Caliber 01
Power Reserve: Over 70 hours
Frequency: 28,800 bph
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Diameter: 43 mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Water Resistance: 30 meters

TAG Heuer Carrera 1887 Specifications

Price: Approx. 4,600 USD
Movement: Caliber 1887
Power Reserve: 50 Hours; 40 with Chrono.
Frequency: 28,800 bph
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Diameter: 41 mm
Crystal: Sapphire
Water Resistance: 100 meters

Which watch do you prefer: the Breitling Navitimer 01 or the TAG Heuer Carrera 1887? Leave a comment and let us know!

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