As a fashion statement, the bulky analogue and digital Breitling Emergency watch doesn’t exactly cut it, but if you’re a professional pilot, as a lifesaving emergency device, don’t fly a plane without it.
This sadly is the mistake wealthy adventurer and good friend of Sir Richard Branson Steve Fossett made when he disappeared over the Nevada desert in 2007. Observers started to speculate on why his Breitling Emergency Mission watch beacon didn’t send out a distress signal which would have enabled rescuers to pinpoint his whereabouts. Fossett was known to possess the multifunction chronograph.
The Breitling Emergency Watch has a built-in micro-transmitter that emits a beacon on the international aviation distress frequency. In case of a crash or other life threatening occurences, the watch wearer can activate the distress beacon, helping rescuers zero in on the crash or problem location. But even the Breitling Emergency watch can’t help you if you don’t wear it.
Celebrity adventurers who love the Breitling Emergency Watch
As a professional aviation chronometer it’s logical that astronaut Buzz Aldrin should wear one. In the case of Aldrin, it’s no brand ambassador jolly, even in his younger years his Breitling Emergency watch was his timepiece of choice.
We can only surmise that Brad Pitt feels the need of one when flying to remote places to adopt more kids with Angelina.
Sir Richard Branson
It’s certainly a watch that has appeal among several celebrity adventurers, perhaps most notable among them being Sir Richard Branson, who has been known to attempt hazardous air balloon trips where it must have come mighty close to activating the distress beacon.
Bear Grylls, the youngest British person to conquer Everest and now a TV presenter famous for being dropped into some of the most inhospitable places on earth to show off his survival skills. His latest series is called Worst Case Scenario – and that’s just what the Breitling Emergency Watch is all about.
Another celebrity who dons the Breitling Emergency is action star Steven Seagal. Although famous for a string of low budget martial arts action movies, some of which are bad enough to make you want to set off a distress signal, Seagal has served in the Jefferson Police Department in Louisiana for over 20 years. His TV show Steven Seagal: Lawman reveals that his martial arts skills are not just for the cameras. In addition to hand to hand combat, Seagal can shoot a pistol and light a matchstick from 40 feet, repeatedly hit the exact same spot on any given target and chop down rock hard bamboo poles with a samurai sword.
The Breitling Emergency Watch
As for the watch itself, Breitling equipped the Emergency with a miniaturised transmitter operating on the 243.0 MHz military frequency.) Under normal conditions—flat terrain or calm seas—the signal can be picked up at a range of up to 90 nautical miles (167 km) by search aircraft flying at 20,000 feet (6,000 m). In January, 2003, two British pilots, Squadron Leader Steve Brooks and Flight Lieutenant Hugh Quentin-Smith, crashed their helicopter in Antarctica and were rescued after activating their Breitling Emergency transmitter watches.
The two pilots were in their lifeboat when a Chilean Otter aircraft found them after homing in on signals from their watches. The Emergency is available for customers who do not hold a pilot’s licence, but they must sign an agreement stating that they will bear the full costs of a rescue intervention should they trigger the distress beacon.