Firstly, this is a work in progress, there may be errors and if you spot any please email me so I can correct it, If you have extra info, again please email me and I’ll add it – this is designed to be a resource to ensure you buy the right model as well as getting to know the watch a little better!
More than a decade before the first Emergency was seen in our shops Breitling set out to design and build a ‘supplemental personal safety device’ that would help to overcome the deficiencies of conventional ELT’s – the Emergency was the fruit of that design process.
Aimed squarely at pilots, Breitling created the first wristwatch to feature an Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT) – It is assumed that the model would be issued to the Armed forces featuring a 243Mhz beacon first.
Breitling launched the Emergency to the civilian world in 1995, the original model reference was 56121 and featured a 121.5Mhz ELT.
Available in a Titanium case, brushed finish with Stainless Steel Bezel, crown and antenna end-caps and the option of Black dial mounted on a Professional Bracelet (with the prototype sporting a two-tone polished centre-link look!)
The E56121 featured a non-COSC standard quartz calibre 56 movement fitted on top of the ELT transmitter housed in a one-piece Titanium case.
On the 2nd May 1996 The Swiss issued Type Approval for the BAKOM number 95.0559.F.P
Shortly after it’s launch the model number changed to E56121.1 – why? No idea! Any explaination would be gratefully received, however two changes became evident;
- The dial received a minor change to show ‘MHz’ as opposed to the E56121’s ‘MHZ’, yep, that’s right, the ‘z’ got smaller – why?, again, no idea!
- The model number changed to show ‘E56121.1’ as opposed to the ‘E56121'
During this editions lifespan more dial colours became available – Blue and Yellow were added.
As this model had yet to reach the U.S and FCC approval some sported the Swiss BAKOM model number and some did not carry any transmitter approval rating at all.
If you look closely at the photograph below you can just make out the 'BA' of the non-fcc BAKOM number.
Again, on the picture below a genuine Emergency with no FCC approved mark.
This model variant continued until Breitling undertook COSC testing on many, if not all of it’s timepieces – the key watch to sport the new E56321 was the ‘Orbiter 3’ limited edition model.OK. That's your lot for now, I will try and update the next chapter by next weekend.
To leave you with a tease though, once i've finished the history of the model I will be looking at how the emergency was tested, its' design and a little bit about how it saved a few lives......