To understand the top quality fake Breitling Emergency, you must first fully understand Ernest Schneider. A former officer in the Swiss army signal corps, Schneider remained involved with military professionals even after his attention turned to watchmaking full-time. In the 1980s he was invited by NATO to a conference where discussions focused on emergency beacons. From this an idea was born: a watch-worn personal locator beacon, built into a muscular chronograph.
The black dial replica Breitling Emergency was launched in 1995. At first it was available only to licensed pilots, but later also to civilians, who would be made to sign a contract agreeing to pay for wasteful rescue attempts (no such payment was ever required, as of the 40,000 units sold, not a single one ever produced a false alarm). When the antenna was pulled out from the bottom of the case, the Emergency emitted a directional transmission that reached as far as 167km away. Each watch was only capable of a single broadcast (to discourage misuse) and operated on the international distress frequency.
Dozens of lives were saved thanks to the original Emergency, before Breitling copy discontinued it when the distress frequency began to be phased out due to a rise in false alarms by other units. A successor debuted in 2013, which operated on an additional frequency monitored by the International Cospas-Sarsat Programme, an intergovernmental search and rescue initiative. It’s this version that remains the preserve of elite pilots and adventurers. Each Swiss made replica watch is fitted with a thermocompensated Breitling 76 SuperQuartz movement, revolutionary rechargeable battery and miniaturised transmitter – all wrapped in a rugged titanium case.
The modern equivalent: the DLC-Coated Titanium Emergency, the equipped-for-anything piece that’s defined by its dual frequency transmitter that launches alerts as well as guides homing and rescue operations. This is so much more than a watch. It’s a survival instrument and a reminder of Breitling’s dedication to the fields of adventure and exploration.