Editor’s note: If you want to impress someone with how cool your watch is, it’s hard to beat the Breitling Emergency. We revisit Ben’s story from a few years back to find out why …* There are few watches that live up to their marketing hype, and even fewer that can claim to have genuinely saved lives. Breitling has long been considered the pilotís watch of choice, but it was the Breitling Emergency that solidified the companyís commitment to aviators and adventurers around the world with one truly unique complication — the personal locator beacon. Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, we explore one of the most unique watches ever made. The story began with Ernest Schneider, the man who acquired Breitling in 1979 when it was on the verge of collapse, and kept it afloat during the quartz crisis, thanks to a new generation of iconic Breitling models. An officer with the Swiss Army signal corps during World War II as well as a passionate pilot and engineer, he was involved in discussions at a NATO conference in the mid-1980s about emergency beacons and the high incidence of false activations that cost the relevant authorities significant time and money.…

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