What is an ELT and Why it Became Important to Breitling

Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT) is a Radio Distress Beacon, a portable device that is designed to broadcast the location of a vessel or a person in distress. ELTs interface with a Cospas-Sarsat, an international search and rescue satellite system that was established in the early 1980's to locate vessels or persons in distress within the first 24-hours after the incident. Usually ELT devices are bulky but still portable. Generally they fit into a bag or a backpack, but in case of an emergency where you could potentially be separated from your gear or vessel by miles, provide little comfort. Breitling saw a real need for a more personalized, portable Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT) that would not be so easily separated from the individual in distress. Fast forward a few years and in 1995 Breitling releases its first Emergency.

Breitling Emergency: How it works

When the concept was initially developed, the plan was to equip the watch with a 325 MHz ELT transmitter and cater the device towards the Armed Forces. However, due to one reason or another Breitling decided to switch gears and market the watch to the civilians instead.

Breitling Emergency was marketed specifically toward pilots and featured a 121.5 MHz ELT that transmitted on the civilian distress frequency. The ELT was carefully positioned underneath the standard quartz movement and encased in titanium for extra durability. The ELT was activated by pulling a pin or in case of a submersion. The watch transmits a distress signal for 0.75 seconds at 2.25 second intervals followed by a Morse code "B" every 60 seconds to indicate that the signal is coming from a Breitling wrist watch which is likely attached to an individual in distress. The ELT will transmit for 24 to 48 hours depending on the state of the battery with a range of up to 90 nautical miles or at a height of 20,000 feet. Today the transmitted signal is picked up on the 406 MHz digital frequency including aircraft GPS and other flight management systems. However, be very careful with activating the device. If it is determined that you are not in a life or death situation, you can be fined up to 10,000 dollars.

The watch itself came in stainless steel or gold and featured a variety of dial colors. Breitling Emergency did not initially come with the FCC approval as it was not built in the United States. It took some time to get that approval, however at this time, Breitling Emergency can be matched with the pilots aircraft emergency beacon.

Breitling Emergency Is Not Just Another Trendy Watch

Breitling Emergency is the kind of watch that you want to wear if you are an adventurous type. It is a stunning example of the combination of watch making ingenuity and latest technology. If you are a pilot or just a person who frequently finds themselves in dangerous situations, this watch might save your life.

Ermitage Jewelers values our customers and treats them like family. Just like we want our family members to be safe, we want the same for you. Come by our Brookhaven store to get your own FCC approved Breitling Emergency watch to accompany you on your next adventure.