Breitling - START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs Geneva Friday, May 13, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Breitling
    Year: 1955
    Reference No: 791
    Case No: 761’332
    Model Name: “Duograph”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 179, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Lizard
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 38.5mm diameter
    Signed: Dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by a poster signed by Sir Jack Brabham. Furthermore, the watch is offered with a letter from his son David Brabham confirming the watch was presented to his father in 1960 after winning the 1960 Formula One World Drivers Championship

  • Catalogue Essay

    Combining a superb complication, stunning aesthetics, and an important racing provenance, the present lot is one of the most exciting Breitling wristwatches to appear on the market in recent memory.

    A “Duograph” model, it was Breitling’s most prestigious wristwatch incorporating a split-seconds chronograph that began production in the 1940s. The perfect tool for recording intermediate periods of time, it was offered in stainless steel, yellow gold, and pink gold.

    The present version, reference 791, boasts the largest case diameter made by Breitling, measuring an impressive 38.5 mm in diameter. It is fitted with a stunning, off-white lacquered dial that is particularly well preserved, with three subsidiary dials and a charismatic red chronograph hand. The case appears to have never been polished and has superbly defined bevels as well as the original satin-finish.

    Quite amazingly, this watch belonged to the late three-time Formula One world champion of car racing, Sir Jack Brabham (2 April 1926 – 19 May 2014). Brabham won the Formula One World Championships in 1959, 1960 and 1966. He was the only man to win a championship on a car that he himself made, in 1966. According to the included letter from Brabham’s son, David, it is believed he was given this watch in 1960 after winning his second Formula One championship.

    The watch is in such crisp condition that we can only conclude it was likely only worn sporadically to please the giver. It is fitted with its black leather strap from the period, also with hardly any evidence of being worn over its nearly 60 years of ownership. It appears that only a handful of the oversized reference 791, have ever been offered at auction, but none have this example’s unparalleled originality, crispness and provenance.

  • Artist Biography


    Swiss • 1884

    The firm started by Leon Breitling in 1884 is best known for its technical aviation and oceanic watches. Today, all models are outfitted with certified chronometer movements, used for accurate timing. Early aviation pioneers in specialized chronograph timepieces, Breitling introduced the circular slide rule to watches in the 1940s for use by pilots. The firm’s most iconic chronograph, the Navitimer, was introduced in 1954 and continues to be manufactured today. Another key model is the Duograph, a split-seconds chronograph that was Breitling's most prestigious wristwatch during the 1940s through '60s. Their watches are built on their reputation for precision and sturdiness.

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Ref. 791
An extremely rare, attractive and important stainless steel split-seconds chronograph wristwatch with off-white lacquered dial, accompanied by a signed poster by Sir Jack Brabham and letter confirming its provenance.

38.5mm diameter
Dial and movement signed

CHF30,000 - 60,000 

Sold for CHF56,250

Contact Specialist
Livia Russo
+41 22 317 81 86

START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs

Geneva Auction 14 May 2016