The Breitling Watch That Is Watching You

Building on its successful and extensive experience, Breitling has achieved a bold look, teamed with a never before done technical feat in presenting the new Emergency II with a built-in personal locator beacon (PLB), once again setting itself apart from the pack. The Emergency is a high-tech juggernaut originally released in 1995. Breitling's Emergency II incorporates a second transmitter to better pinpoint your location. Equipped with a dual frequency transmitter compliant with the Cospas-Sarsat international satellite alert system. A satellite network that both alerts and guides search and rescue missions; land, air and sea.

7 The Cospas-Sarsat Satellite Network

The international fleet of Cospas-Sarsat system satellites circle the earth in both low-altitude and geostationary orbit patterns. Also consisting of ground receiving stations and control and coordination centers, here on land. This information helps international search and rescue (SAR) authorities provide fast, international assistance to people who need it most. The Emergency II features two crowns at the bottom of the case that you unscrew to extend two antennas, which activate the watch’s microtransmitter. For 24 hours, distress calls are sent on the 406 MHz frequency for satellites every 50 seconds alternating with alerts on the analog homing and rescue frequency every 2.25 seconds. Just don’t play around with the transmitter or you could potentially face fines for triggering a worldwide false alarm.

6 Technology That's Saving Lives

Now, around 40,000 such watches have been sold, and these instruments for locating and rescuing people in danger have already saved a number of lives. In August of 2012, Mark Spencer of Anchorage, Alaska, became stranded and hypothermic in the Alaska back country during a grizzly bear hunting expedition. He activated the watch’s Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT), and a rescue crew picked up the signal, located him, and lifted him to safety by helicopter. Whether you're aboard a life raft in the south pacific or stranded in the Andes, you'll be found. A 51mm Bear Grylls on your wrist, weighing in at 140g (not surprising that he's the Emergency's ambassador!).

5 Years In The Making

Breitling reports that the making of this dual frequency transmitter specifically designed for the Emergency was a major hurdle and spent years developing and redeveloping it. One of the challenges was that its dimensions had to be made into something wearable on the wrist. Teaming up with an institute specializing in aerospace, defense and industry, it involved creating a new circuit exclusively dedicated to the watch in order to be able to transmit on two frequencies within an extremely compact size. The technology and design set new standards for watchmaking.

4 Design Mastery

Breitling delivers a refined yet rugged design with the Emergency II. It has a highly complex case made from titanium; the favorite aeronautical metal that is sturdy, light, anti-magnetic, corrosion-resistant and non-allergenic. Staying true to the Breitling name, the Emergency has a stunning appearance. It comes with a choice of three dials – black, yellow or orange – and comes fitted with a titanium bracelet or rubber strap. The satin-brushed bezel is engraved with a compass scale highlighting its powerful, technical appeal.

3 Breitling Celebrities

The list of celebrities sporting the Emergency watch includes names synonymous with adventure such as the second man to walk on the moon Buzz Aldrin, and survival extremist and television show presenter Bear Grylls.

In March 1999, Breitling launched the Orbital 3, the first balloon to fly around the world in sub-orbital space non-stop. The Orbital was piloted by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones who both were equipped with an Emergency watch. Staying with this theme, you may remember an earlier attempt to circle the earth in a balloon made by none other than Sir Richard Branson; English business giant and investor, also a proud wearer of the Emergency.

Adding to the elite list is Forest Whitaker, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. Steven Seagal rocks an 18K gold version, and the Emergency is even worn by Juan Carlos, King of Spain. The list goes on which goes to show that the Emergency has fast become a household name among A-listers.

2 A Watch-Lover's Watch

The Emergency is not only a personal survival instrument, it is also an electronic chronograph featuring all the functions useful to professionals and adventurers. For downright watch aficionados, the Breitling legacy delivers again. The Emergency is equipped with a thermocompensated SuperQuartz™ movement ten times more accurate than standard quartz and chronometer and is recognized by the highest industry benchmark in terms of precision and reliability.

1 Overview


The Emergency II will cost you just under $19,000, laid in a hefty sized case that looks like something used to deliver top secret documents to foreign officials. It comes with a charger/tester which periodically recharges the battery and automatically checks the smooth running of the transmitter, guaranteeing the reliability of the Emergency's beacon. “The Emergency is more than a watch,” says Thierry Prissert, president of Breitling USA. “It is something unique that only Breitling has mastered in terms of micro engineering and micro physics. We are the only company who makes this, no one else has even tried.” An available rescue service on an International scale, from one of the finest watchmakers in the world.

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