An early and well preserved stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with circular slide rule

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  • Manufacturer: Breitling
    Year: 1942
    Case No: 479'515
    Model Name: Chronomat "Pre-769"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 36mm Diameter
    Signed: Case numbered, dial signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    Breitling is best known for their line of iconic chronograph tool watches, which are especially useful for aviators due to their unique ability to perform various mathematical calculations and measurements. In today’s modern era, it is difficult to remember that early fight navigation was completed without the aid of computers, and the pilot’s wristwatch was a necessary fight tool. As early as the 1920s, watch manufacturers were producing watches that allowed pilots to calculate location based on timing accuracy, where a miscalculation of just a few seconds could mean a course deviation of several miles. Charles Lindbergh few from Roosevelt Field on Long Island to Le Bourget field in Paris in 1927 using dead reckoning navigation, which determined location based on a fixed position, estimated speed and the elapsed time - as measured by an accurate watch.

    Breitling submitted patent number 217012 in 1942, for a chronograph watch with rotating bezel incorporating a circular slide rule. This system easily allowed pilots
    to make necessary calculations rapidly with the watch worn on their wrists. Launched in 1942, the Chronomat was based on this new patent, and an innovation in the field of aviator’s watches. The Chronomat became the basis for Breitling’s most recognizable chronograph, the Navitimer, which was released in 1952 with the iconic reference 806.
    The present example is exceptionally rare - fitted with a hardly-ever seen stunning glossy black dial and white sub-dials. It remains well-preserved in outstanding original condition with a sharp case and crisp serial numbers engraved on its caseback. According to Breitling’s archive, this is a very early example featuring only the case number, and not the reference number as seen on later models, as well as the earlier Venus 150 movement versus the later Venus 175. Furthermore, the dial is designated “Fab. Suisse” at 6 o’clock – a rare characteristic indicating the watch was made for the French market.

  • 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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41

Breitling

An early and well preserved stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with circular slide rule

1942
36mm Diameter
Case numbered, dial signed

Estimate
$4,000 - 8,000 
CHF4,000-8,000
€3,600-7,300
HK$31,300-62,600

sold for $10,625

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

GAME CHANGERS

New York Auction 10 December 2019