Breitling's DC-3 to tour the Middle East with exclusive watch onboard

The vintage aircraft will carry a limited-edition Navitimer to Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and Dubai.

Meryl D'Souza January 26, 2017

The Douglas DC-3 is one of the most significant transport airliners ever made. When the twin-engine propeller plane made its debut in 1935, it was an aviation rock star. Its two engines cut the journey time from coast-to-coast across the United States from 25 hours to 18. The DC-3 even played its part in World War II, earning the nickname the "Normandy landings plane".

Today, less than 150 of the original 16,000 remain in flightworthy condition, but one of them is owned by a certain Swiss watch company known for its love of all things aviation - Breitling.

Embarking on a record-breaking journey to celebrate its 77th birthday, from March to September this year the Breitling DC-3 will circumnavigate the world in several stages, becoming the oldest airliner to do so.

The world tour will take off from Geneva, heading to the Middle East, India, South-East Asia, North America and back to Europe, before ending its voyage in Switzerland at the Breitling Sion Airshow 2017.

When it gets to the Middle East, sometime from the middle to the end of March, the plane will touch down in Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and Dubai. While it's here, select VIPs will have the chance to get up close to her. 

But Breitling isn't just flying the old girl around the world for the sake of it; it also has some precious cargo onboard. In celebration of this record-breaking expedition, Breitling will introduce a limited-edition version of its Navitimer chronograph, and all 500 pieces will be onboard the DC-3 with just 25 going on sale in the Middle East.

The watch, powered by Breitling's Caliber 01 movement, will feature a special caseback engraved with the Breitling DC-3 World Tour logo.

Watch aficionados will have to wait until the end of the year to get their hands on one though – Breitling wants to ensure all 500 pieces travel around the planet first. But, when they do finally make their way back to the region, each watch will be delivered with a certificate signed by the flight captain. (Something to keep hold of for future collector value.)

Aed Adwan, Breitling Middle East, said: “Through this world tour, Breitling is once again displaying its determination to share its passion for aviation with a broad audience, especially in the Middle East where we have specifically included stop-overs in four different countries.”