Jensen heritage for the next generation


Item description: As with the Rolex GMT-Master, the Breitling Navitimer was the watch of choice for many civil & military aviation pilots. However, for many racing enthusiasts, it is the fact that racing driver, Graham Hill, wore a Navitimer , which makes the Navitimer their watch of choice. This stunning new old stock example dates from 1970. Typical stainless steel case with brushed surfaces and polished back. The dial in black, and with twin silvered sub-registers, along with the Breitling logo and name. The dial has the calender at the 6.00 position. On the outside of the black dial is a rotational silvered bezel, which is turned by means of a silver and black bezel on the outside. case-back with full Breitling name, reference number etc, and with the original wax finish in place. Inside of case-back stamped with the Breitling name. Automatic Breitling Cal.12 movement. The watch complete with a beautiful Breitling dark tan crocodile strap (double Breitling marked), along with a polished stainless steel Breitling branded buckle.


Case size: 50mm x 48mm


Condition report: New old stock condition. Storage age only. Perfect case. Beautiful original dial with light aging to the luminous hour battons. The movement has been recently serviced, and at the same time a Breitling crocodile strap with buckle was fitted. The timepiece may have been opened, so it should not be used near moisture or water without being checked by a qualified watchmaker. This example of a Breitling Navitimer 1806, is undoubtedly one of the best and most original examples on the market today.


Background to the Breitling Navitimer reference 1806: The Breitling Navitimer reference 1806, was an important milestone in the history of watchmaking, as it incorporated the first automatic chrongraph movement. The man behind the development of this new calibre was Gérald Dubois, who was working for Dépraz & Cie (now famous with the name Dubois Dépraz). Using a base calibre from Buren (a thin automatic movement with a micro-rotor), Dubois worked together with Jack Heuer and Willy Breitling to develop an automatic chronograph. The legendary Calibre 11 was born. A unique feature of this movement is its left-positioned crown (the pushers are, as usual, located on the right side of the case). The introduction of this movement changed the face of the Navitimer from a tri-compax layout to a bi-compax with date at 6.o. At the beginning of the 1970s, Breitling brought out the revised reference 1806 using the Calibre 12 movement.


Background to Breitling: Breitling SA was founded in Saint-Imier, Bernese Jura by Léon Breitling in 1884. By the 1940s, Breitling, similar to Heuer, were well known for their range of chronograph, special function watches. It was during the 1940s that Breitling first added a circular slide rule to the bezel of one of their chronograph models for use by aircraft pilots. This was to become the famous Navitimer model. In 1961, Scott Carpenter, one of the original astronauts in the Mercury space program, approached Breitling with idea of incorporating a 24 hour dial instead of the normal 12 hour dial.


This was needed because of the lack of day and night during space travel. Breitling agreed to produce a 24 hour dial, which became known as the 24-hour Navitimer. Carpenter wore one of these on his 1962 space flight. Breitling later went on to produce the 24-hour version as the so-called Cosmonaut Navitimer. During the 1970s, and as the quartz revolution was hitting many tradition mechanical lead watch producers, Breitling were totally unprepared. This led to the company being sold off in 1978 to Ernst Schneider, the owner of the Sicura brand of watches. Schneider decided that there was more long term potential in the Breitling name, as opposed to his Sicura name, and as such dissolved the Sicura name to the benefit of Breitling.


Special notes: The partnership of Jack Heuer and Willy Breitling in developing the automatic chronograph, meant that both companies could use the system. Although the Breitling Navitimer is viewed as the first automatic chronograph, Heuer produced the Heuer Calculator using the same cal.12 movement.


Provenance: n/a


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