Breitling Breitling Navitimer 809 1966 Breitling Cosmonaute 809 1966

Breitling Navitimer 809 1966 Breitling Cosmonaute 809 1966

Brand: Breitling
Model: Cosmonaute
Reference: 809
Gender: Male/uni-sex
Year: 1966
Material: stainless steel
Dial Color: Black
Dimensions: 42 mm
Watch Movement: manual
Bracelet/Strap: vintage leather strap
Box/Paper: Leather watch pouch if ordered at WRIST ICONS
Condition: Like new old stock

Scott Carpenter was an American astronaut who carried a 24-hour version of the Breitling Navitimer into space so that he could better distinguish day and night. Now you have a really rare opportunity to acquire a 1960s Breitling Cosmonaute in like new old stock condition. Look at that glossy gilt dial with the beautiful off-set white sub dials. You don’t have to go hurdling your way into space to appreciate this vintage masterpiece with some serious space credibility!


First watch into space?

The first astronaut to come into space with a stopwatch on his wrist was John H. Glenn. Glenn, who space traveled with Friendship 7, strapped the Heuer Ref. 2915A stopwatch to his suit using an elastic band.

One of the original seven astronauts to orbit the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 spacecraft, was the American astronaut Scott Carpenter. He was launched into space on May 24, 1962, making him the second American in orbit. He wore a modified Breitling Navitimer (Ref. 809) made of stainless steel on his wrist that featured a Venus 178 hand-wound caliber, specially converted for Breitling.

In fact, Omega’s first space adventure begins with the Sigma 7 mission on Walter Marty Schirra Jr.’s wrist. Schirra was accompanied by Speedmaster CK2998-4.


Scott Carpenter and his Cosmonaute

Scott Carpenter was one of the original seven US astronauts, sometimes called the “Mercury Seven”, introduced to the public in April 1959.

Carpenter was a US Navy test pilot and it is reported that he was fond of the Breitling Navitimers, a three-register chronograph, designed for pilots, which incorporated a slide rule and other scales and markings useful for navigation.  Like most wristwatches, the Navitimer had 12-hour indication, meaning that the hour hand rotates around the dial two times per day.  Each of the seven Mercury astronauts had a special responsibility for the development of the Mercury spacecraft and Carpenter was given responsibility for the onboard navigational equipment. 

The story goes that Carpenter requested that Breitling modify the Navitimer so that it would be suitable for the astronauts.  At this time, NASA had not selected a watch to be worn on the Mercury flights and NASA was not supplying watches to the astronauts, but rather each of the astronauts who chose to wear a watch on his mission selected and procured his own timepiece.

Rather than having 12-hour indication, as on most wristwatches, the Cosmonaute would have 24-hour indication. For the astronaut completing an orbit every 90 minutes, and moving from daylight to darkness in a matter of minutes, the 24 hour indication would allow the astronaut to know the time of day (for example, at Mission Control), without worrying about whether it was AM or PM§.

The movement used in the Cosmonaute was the same Venus 178 as was used in the Navitimer, except that the movement was modified so that the hour hand would make only one trip around the dial per day.

The Cosmonaute would have a wider bezel than the previous and future models, so that the slide rule could be used by an astronaut wearing thick gloves. This was actually only the case with the 1963 model, which is highly collectible.




This is a very nice Breitling Cosmonaute from 1966 and I rate this watch as ‘like new old stock’ watch. It has e very even patina on the radium on the Arabic hour markers and the side ruler. All the hands have a matching lume consistent with the Arabic numerals.


CASE and BACK: this watch measures a large 41 x 48.3 mm case not including crown and is 13mm to the top of the flush fit crystal. The heavy all-steel case does not appear to have ever been polished and still shows its original razor sharp bevels and contrast satin-polished finish. There are superficial scratches and some nicks commensurate with a normally worn 55-year-old tool watch  — Fantastic like new old stock condition overall. The outer part of the snap steel back has some very light and superficial scratches but shows its original Breitling nomenclature of the period including the 10884xx serial number on the inside which indicates a 1966 production, and correct 806 reference–also Excellent original cosmetic condition. The inner caseback shows no corrosion and has the correct internal Breitling engraving of the era.

  • BEZEL & SLIDERULE: The rotating bezel is in good condition . The bezel itself rotates with good tension in both directions as designed.  Sliderule is in fantastic condition and matches with the rest of the dial.
  • DIAL & HANDS: A glossy black dial with white printing and finely calibrated track and only the minor imperfections , this 1966 Cosmonaute has the black subdials. All original ‘cream’ colored Radium luminous numbers that has darkened onky slightly. Under the Breitling logo is the AOPA logo. All original hands
  • CROWN & PUSHERS: Signed Breitling crown looks very clean and winds and pulls out to the time-setting position as it should. It sits tightly against the case. The two pusher caps are likewise in Excellent shape and both chrono pushers work as they should and also nice and crisply.
  • CRYSTAL: Large flush-fit acrylic crystal is Excellent and without scratches and no marks and sits barely proud of the bezel, which I believe to be correct for this model.
  • MOVEMENT: Legendary Venus 178 column wheel chronograph movement is looking bright and working well with all correct Breitling nomenclature of the era and shock protection. Watch can be serviced upon request.
  • BOX & PAPERS: This watch comes without any of the original warranty papers


Overall, the exceptional finishing of the Breitling Cosmonaute  809 AOPA is noteworthy, both for its design and execution.

As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase.  Please check our website to have a look at the high resolution pictures on a macro level. You will see every detail at its best.

Viewings can be arranged at our office by appointment.



  • Brand:        Breitling
  • Model:        Cosmonaute
  • Reference:   809
  • Movement:  Venus Caliber 178.
  • Functions:    24 hours, minutes, center seconds, chronograph
  • Case Diameter: 40mm
  • Lug Width: 22mm
  • Case Material: stainless steel
  • Crystal:       plexiglass
  • Bracelet/strap: vintage black  leather strap in like new condition







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