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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 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by blank Breitling certificate, hang tag, product literature, instruction manual and fitted presentation box. Further delivered with Breitling Extract from the Archives confirming production in June 1959.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The origin of Breitling’s Navitimer was the brainchild conceived in 1952 under the request from the renowned US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). To answer this challenge, Willy Breitling pioneered the purpose-built model to be the ultimate wrist-worn calculation instrument for aviation of the 50s era.

    Early Navitimers bares all black registers and luminescent filled Arabic numerals, and can be differentiated by small design nuance on the signed dial and iconic beaded bezel. The very first batch made in 1954 until 1955, known as the “Pre-806” prized by collectors, was made for the sole use of AOPA members, and were blessed with the gilt winged shield logo, signed “AOPA” beneath the 12’ o’ clock marker with the absence of any Breitling association on the dial. Prized by immense success within the aviation community, in 1956 Breitling released the official ref. 806 model to the market. These include the AOPA signed wings of the early 806, a configuration only meant for the American market, unsigned wings and the Breitling logo, and a Breitling – Genève – wings combination. The actual Breitling signature only became present on the dial in the late 1950s, so early iterations of the reference 806 do not display the manufacture.

    With its beaded bezel providing better grip, pilots were able to perform intricate in-flight calculations like average speed, flight distance and fuel consumptions with ease. In the early 1950s, the small beads surrounding the bezel consist of as many as 125 beads, whereas approaching towards the 1960s, the design gradually evolved to as few as 93 beads likely to increase friction grip, a rather small detail, but to the discern collectors can use this to date an early Navitimer.

    The present specimen from 1959 bares the ‘AOPA’ signed gilt pair of wings and is consequently stamped on the movement with the import code, ‘WOG’ for the Wakmann Watch Co., the American arm of Breitling. Highly sought after by vintage aficionados and aviation enthusiasts, the present specimen in an excellent well-preserved condition retaining its original unpolished crisp edges and bevels is certainly a gem. Furthermore, it is complete with its hardly ever seen original presentation box and accessories.

  • Artist Biography

    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.

    View More Works

Property from an Important European Collector

821

Ref. 806
A rare and highly attractive stainless steel pilot’s chronograph wristwatch with black dial, “beads of rice” slide rule bezel and presentation box

1959
40mm diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
HK$60,000 - 100,000 
€6,400-10,700
$7,700-12,800

Sold for HK$113,400

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031
[email protected]

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XII

Hong Kong Auctions 5-6 June 2021