Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
The Teignmouth Electron set sail for the open ocean on October 31st, 1968.
At the helm was Donald Crowhurst, a down-on-his luck entrepreneur and hobbyist sailor seeking the prestige (and prize money) of winning the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, a round-the-world, non-stop solo sailing voyage.
The race attracted well-salted helmsmen from several nations, all of whom had ample experience in the world's oceans. Crowhurst, a novice sailor, was woefully underprepared and lacked crucial experience. But Crownurst wasn't naive. He believed that his navigational and safety equipment could make up for his nautical deficits. An inventor and businessman, Crowhurst had developed a handheld device - the Navicator - that would allow the user to acquire bearings from marine and aviation radio beacons. Crowhurst had also developed a complex system that incorporated an inflatable buoy attached to the mast and ballast pumps to keep his trimaran from capsizing (the multi-hulled vessels are nearly impossible to right - unlike single-hulled ones - once overturned).
Mortgaged to the hilt, under-provisioned and with most of his safety gear still unfinished and untested, Crowhurst set sail from Teignmouth, England.
It didn't take long for Crowhurst to discover that his lack of preparedness and his inexperience as a sailor were serious detriments - by December he had fallen off course and began sailing erratically, eventually finding himself off the eastern coast of South America.
But Crowhurst, remembering the financial ruin he would face if he turned back to England, hatched a new scheme.
Hiding his craft in small coves and islands, Crowhurst began sending cryptic radio messages with vague bearings and coordinates, suggesting to racing officials - and the world - that he was still very much in the race. Crowhurst believed that he could remain safely tucked out of sight and wait for the other vessels to traverse the Pacific. Once they rounded Cape Horn and turned northward toward England, Crowhurst would sneak back into the race. He further believed that if he could merely finish, while he wouldn't be entitled to a purse, the notoriety and fame would be enough to kickstart his failing business.
But by December, he was being heralded as the race leader. And by March of 1969, the group was thinning, and while one sailor, Robin Knox-Johnston, had completed the race, the eyes of the world were turned to Crowhurst, who was believed to be in second place or even a time contender for first.
Nigel Tetley, a South African native, was the true second place holder, but because of Crowhurst's deception, he believed himself to be fighting for second place. But, his vessel, the Victress, was failing. Not wanting to cede the position, he sailed hard, pushing the boat too far. In May, with only 1,200 nautical to go, the Victress broke apart, leaving Tetley adrift in his life raft.
On July 10, 1969, the Teignmouth Electron was discovered in the open Atlantic. There was no sign of Crowhurst.
The leading theory is that Crowhurst simply jumped overboard, whether driven by guilt or swayed by exhaustion, and was drowned, as there were no signs of struggle, injury of foul play. But some contend that Crowhurst left his world - the boat, his family, his crushing debt - behind, striking up a new life on the shore of some forgotten island in the warm climes of the Caribbean.
And while history doesn't reveal to us what Crowhurst was wearing, it's very plausible that he would have chosen a watch like this as his sole companion. Robust and dependable, he would have needed a watch that was legible, mechanically suited for his voyage, and strong enough to survive the onslaught of the sea. And, if Crownhurst is still out there somewhere, running from the world, we'd wager this Breitling would still be running, right alongside him.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.