We'll just come out and say it - vintage Breitling is underrated!
Now, we've gone on about how much we love mid-century chronographs, and this expression is no exception. The interplay of the warm gold and bronze tones of the telemeter and tachymeter track against the glossy black of the dial captivates the eye, offset by the delicate tapering lugs.
Its solid construction and elegant dial serve as the perfect counterpoint to the Navitimer's business. Every millimeter a testament to Breitling's history-- solid watch making and classic design--a proposition that is not to be ignored.
Breitling was founded in 1892, and while still around today, the company is no longer in the hands of the Breitling family. The late 1970s was a turbulent time for the Swiss watch industry, and many storied houses were swept away by the Quartz Crisis. By 1978, Breitling was in trouble due to the illness of its leader, Willy Breitling, and the steep decline in sales that had cut through the entire industry. Unable to keep operations going, the Breitling company was liquidated, and parts, toolings and naming rights were sold off. One of the best aviation watch companies was no more, but they left behind a large range of incredible watches.
Breitling has been surprisingly slow to catch fire with vintage collectors, especially since the history of the brand and their ties to aviation are unimpeachable. Sure, many of their watches have polarizing designs and complicated dial aesthetics (hell, we don't know how to use the slide rule feature on the Navitimer 806 any better than you do), but their cleaner designs embody the best of 1960s and 1970s chronograph design and shouldn’t be overlooked.
If we had our druthers, Breitling would be one of the top dogs in the world of vintage watches, and we’re confident that in time, they will be. Sure, vintage Navitimers and Superoceans command high prices, but there is so much more to the brand beyond those classics.
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