A very attractive stainless steel diver's chronograph wristwatch with Art Deco indexes and revolving bezel

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  • Manufacturer: Breitling
    Year: 1959
    Reference No: 807
    Case No: 911'479
    Model Name: SuperOcean
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Venus 175, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Tropic
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 39mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    In the mid-50s’, Breitling was internationally renowned for designing watches for aviators and was supplying 25 of the world’s leading airlines companies of the time. So when, in 1957, the brand launched its first divers’ watches with the two SuperOcean references 1004 and 807, they proudly stated in the advertising campaign that they were, from then on, offering the same vital precision under the sea! Two divers’ watches were launched at the same time in order to offer a choice between a manual wind chronograph, the reference 807 like the present model and an automatic time only version. Both watches featured a very distinctive concave bezel , which was larger than the case. Not only this feature eases the manipulation of the watch with diving gloves but it also protects the large domed crystal. The dial design of the two versions was also very much alike with elongated radium markers and applied stainless steel triangle indexes going through a round luminous marker. Both models were waterproof to 200 meters which placed them in direct competition with the three other major brands offering divers’ watch at the time: Rolex, Blancpain and Omega.

    However the overall design of the SuperOcean is more flamboyant than that of the previously mentioned brands. In fact scholars are of the opinion that the original 1957 SuperOcean was the first watch in the world to feature white registers against a black dial. This was years before the other Swiss brands would follow this new design language.

    The present SuperOcean reference 807 chronograph is most probably one of the rarest dive chronographs to appear at auction as only a few were made and rarely does an example grace the auction room. Most of them seem to have disappeared under the sea.

    In very good overall condition with extremely sharp edges and superb definition to the lugs, the present watch seems to have lived a very privileged life, as if an occasional diver had bought it and preferred to enjoy it on the beach rather than facing the elements underwater! The oversized concave bezel gives the watch great presence on the wrist, and together with the dial design, make this watch part of the elite league of instantaneously recognizable models.

  • 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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105

Breitling

Ref. 807
A very attractive stainless steel diver's chronograph wristwatch with Art Deco indexes and revolving bezel

1959
39mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF20,000 - 40,000 
€17,100-34,300
$21,200-42,300

sold for CHF26,250

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