Most luxury watch names hired flashy athletes or photogenic celebs as their brand ambassadors but for the new Cockpit B50, Breitling chose a guy who knows his way around a real cockpit. Retired astronaut and decorated Navy pilot Mark Kelly brings his hard-earned street (or air) cred to the Swiss-made timepiece.
The Breitling Cockpit B50 is a pilot’s dream with SuperQuartz, analog and 12/24-hour LCD digital display, CountDown CountUp clock, electronic tachometer and titanium case plus special features like the “chrono flight” device that can record flight, departure and arrival times.
Such an impressive watch deserves an equally impressive spokesperson and Kelly certainly qualifies. In addition to being a veteran of 39 flights during Operation Desert Storm as well as traveling 22 million miles through space, Kelly has been in the news over the last several years due to his devotion to wife Gabrielle Giffords, the former U.S. Congresswoman who has been fighting back against brain injuries suffered in a shooting back in 2011.
Mark Kelly is a hero in more ways than one but showed admirable modesty in a recent interview with the Orange County Register during a promotional visit to the South Coast Plaza shopping center in Costa Mesa, California. The occasion was the introduction of the Breitling Cockpit B50 at the boutique Tourneau.
Unlike some brand ambassadors who took the gig for the cash, Kelly was already familiar with Breitling timepieces and explained: “I always wanted one. I knew it was a watch for aviation and was very reliable and probably wasn’t very well known as some of the other brands, but it’s a product that’s really made for pilots.”
Kelly told the reporter why the watch’s accuracy was so important to a pilot: “Yeah, it is, especially in my career as an aviator … time was incredibly important. In the airplane that I flew, you needed to be able to constantly do the math in your head, but use the watch, your distance and your airspeed to figure out, are you behind or are you ahead of getting the target on time … you would break it down into six second increments. Why six seconds? Do you know why?
“Because it’s a tenth of a minute, it’s easier to do the math. The accuracy of the minute hand and the second hand is key to being able to do your route. And it’s sort of like that for space flight, too. You need an accurate watch because you’re doing a lot of critical things on time.”
Kelly added that if he were going back into space, the Breitling Cockpit B50 is the watch he would want on his wrist.
“If I was flying in combat again, that’s the watch I would buy. It’s a SuperQuartz movement, thermocompensated … it’s incredibly accurate. If you turn your wrist, the light will come on.
“So imagine you’re flying an airplane at night, you don’t have to take your hand off the throttle … it has a regular alarm that’s a tone, but also has one that vibrates like your phone so you can feel it. It’s nice to use in space where it’s so loud – all the fans, pumps and everything.”
The Breitling Cockpit B50 sells for $6,595 to $7,250.