Breitling - The Geneva Watch Auction: XV Geneva Saturday, May 7, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Breitling
    Year: 1953
    Reference No: 765 AVI
    Case No: 826'990
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 178, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 41mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by electronic Breitling Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1953.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Breitling ref. 765 AVI was originally created in the early 1960s with one purpose in mind: to become the official watch of the French Naval Airforce, thus the "AVI" written on the caseback. Breitling was just one of the manufacturers producing a timepiece specifically made for the French Airforce, with rigorous military requirements dictating what the timepiece had to include. As a result, it's possible that collectors and aficionados of vintage military timepieces may find many aesthetic and functional similarities between this Breitling 765 AVI with famously known Breguet Type XX.

    While Ref. 765 AVI saw various changes over its manufacturing run, the earliest instances are said to have had a very traditional dial with only two registers, with later examples having a dial with three registers and a metallic bezel. The small aperture at three o'clock might be mistaken for the date aperture of the timepiece but it is actually a 15 minute counter - starting the chronograph, the advanced cal. 178 will record up to 15 minutes, passed that, the subdial at 6 o'clock will register those minutes as a first quarter and start the 15 minute counter again keeping the chronograph going. The successor was the ref. 765 CP (co-pilot), which had a black metallic bezel.

    The original dial on this timepiece has developed a warm and delicate patina. Housed in a large 41mm diameter case, this ref. 765, is is one of Breitling's most well-known chronographs, and a contemporary re-edition of the current watch which was re-introduced back in 2020. The present timepiece is a fantastic opportunity for collectors to obtain an excellent professional tool watch made for the French Naval Airforce. It is perfectly sized in today's standards and has a remarkable presence on the wrist.

  • 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. 765 AVI
A very rare and large stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with black dial and 15 minute counter

41mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

CHF8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for CHF32,760

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

+41 22 317 81 81

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva

+41 22 317 96 63

The Geneva Watch Auction: XV

Geneva Auction 7 - 8 May 2022