A very rare, highly attractive and early stainless steel pilot's chronograph wristwatch with black dial, slide rule bezel and box

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  • Manufacturer: Breitling
    Year: 1959
    Reference No: 806
    Case No: 917'093
    Model Name: Navitimer
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 178, 17 jewel
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 40mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Breitling fitted box, product literature and tag

  • Catalogue Essay

    No stranger to pioneering feats of horology, in 1915, Breitling was among the earliest brands to launch a wristwatch chronograph. It was in 1923, that the manufacture patented a two-pusher chronograph, allowing for the first time a chronograph to time separate, successive intervals without having to reset to zero between each interval. Breitling's innovative and rich experience with chronographs resulted in one of the most iconic wristwatches of the 20th century and arguably, the most successful aviator's wristwatch ever: the Navitimer. Over the years, the Navitimer has undergone a variety of cosmetic and mechanical changes, yet it has always remained a measuring instrument rooted in strong traditions.

    The Navitimer is a tool watch in the purest sense. Each element of the watch was designed specifically for accuracy and efficiency in execution. The beaded edge allowed for pilots to grasp and turn the bezel while wearing thick leather gloves. The slide rule, a rather baffling complication to the layman, was critical in making intricate calculations in the pre-digital era.

    The present lot is perhaps one of its purest expressions of this tradition of aviation and innovation. It stands out with its exceptional state of preservation. It has been confirmed by the manufacture as being produced in mid 1959 with the corresponding 'AOPA' logo and all black dial with black subsidiary registers. The 'AOPA' logo, an applied gilt metal pair of wings, is the symbol of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association established in 1939 which is the largest international independent organization of pilots. The 'AOPA' Navitimer was only made for the American market, and is consequently stamped on the movement with the import code, 'WOG' for the Wakmann Watch Co., the American arm of Breitling. Complete with its hardly ever seen original box and product literature, it bears all the traits that embody a reference 806 from 1959, with its Venus 178 movement, beaded bezel, and Mark II white-painted hands.

  • Maker Bio

    Breitling

    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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104

Breitling

Ref. 806
A very rare, highly attractive and early stainless steel pilot's chronograph wristwatch with black dial, slide rule bezel and box

1959
40mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF4,000 - 6,000 
€3,400-5,100
$4,200-6,400

sold for CHF11,250

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018