Breitling SA was founded in Saint-Imier, Bernese Jura, Switzerland by Léon Breitling in 1884. Leon started in watchmaking to accompany his love for aviation. Pilots at the time were using pocket watches in the cockpit however Leon created the first wrist-worn chronograph. This invention was far easier to use in the skies. In 1914 Leon passes away and he passes the business to his son Gaston who continues to build the business. Gaston continued down his fathers path working to develop instruments to work in the cockpit either wrist worn or dashboard instruments. Their developments in aeronautical timing lead to more contracts such as the one they secured with the royal air force which they landed about the time of World War II. Willy Breitling took the helm and helped his customers land planes near the breitling factory out of the view of Nazi intelligence officers. In 1979 Ernst Schneider bought the company from the founding Breitling family and his family expanded the business until 2017. Ernst's son Theodore sold the majority stake (80%) in Breitling to CVC Capital Partners. Theodore Schneider retained 20% control of Breitling until 2018 when he sold the rest.