After the Super Constellation, Breitling welcomes into its fleet another legendary aircraft, the DC-3. By supporting the restoration and relaunch of a 1940 plane, the "brand with the winged B" confirms its determination to preserve the aviation heritage - a stirring adventure with which its own history is so closely entwined and which thrills the hearts of so many enthusiasts.
Commissioned by American Airlines, the Douglas DC-3 twin-engine propeller aircraft first took off in 1935, at a time when Breitling was supplying civilian and military planes with its first onboard chronographs. Thanks to its peerless performances, its sturdiness, its low fuel consumption and its long-range capabilities, it revolutionized the world of air transport by enabling for the first time reliable and profitable commercial flights with a minimum of stop-overs. At the end of the 1930s, most of the major American and European companies were equipped with this model.
During World War II, the DC-3 – particularly in its so-called Dakota version – played a key role in troop transport. Nicknamed “the landing plane”, it experienced its moment of fame in June 1944 by serving to tow countless gliders and dropping thousands of paratroopers on the coasts of Normandy. General Eisenhower paid it a glowing tribute by defining it as one of the four “pillars” of the victory in Africa.
When peace returned, the DC-3 pursued its brilliant career in civil aviation until the early 1950s, a period when Breitling was establishing itself among the major manufacturers and airlines as the “official supplier to world aviation”. No less than 13,000 of these planes were built.
The DC-3 HB-IRJ flying the Breitling colors was produced in 1940 for American Airlines. Despite clocking up 75,000 flight hours, it has been kept in exceptionally good condition. Purchased in the United States and restored in Miami, it was then transported to Europe via Quebec, Newfoundland, Greenland and Iceland.