NO REFERENCE AOPA NAVITIMER A RARE AND EARLY STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH, MADE IN 1955
NO REFERENCE AOPA NAVITIMER
A RARE AND EARLY STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH, MADE IN 1955
Dial: black, gilt
Caliber: cal. 72 Valjoux mechanical, 17 jewels
Case: stainless steel, solid snap-on case back
Case number: 844'814
Closure:associated steel buckle
Size: 41 mm diameter
Signed: case, dial and movement
Case: Case in very good condition with robust chamfered lugs. In our view, the present lot has not been previously polished. Outside case back signed "stainless steel Breitling." Some light surface scuffing and wear. Center of area of left side case band with a small nick. Crystal glazing with some scuffs and scratches.
Dial: Dial in very good condition with some light wear. Outer KM track with some small areas of wear visible under a loupe. Hands with visible patina and oxidation to the metal. Even aging to the lume Arabic numerals.
Movement: Chronograph operating. Inner rotating bezel operating smoothly. The movement is running at time of cataloging, however it was not tested for the accuracy of time or duration of the power reserve and may need service at the buyer's discretion. Please note that Sotheby's does not guarantee the future working of the movement.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The online condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance purposes only. The images of the lot also form part of the online condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Any reference to condition in the online condition report does not amount to a full description of condition. The online condition report may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the online condition report of the lot or shown in the online images of the lot (for example, the online condition report may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome). Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. The online condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation but rather the online condition report is a statement of subjective, qualified opinion (for example, information regarding colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact). Please also note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and wrist bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. In addition, certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot (for example, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades). For these reasons, the online condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. Prospective buyers should also refer to the Buying at Auction guide which includes important notices concerning the type of property in this sale. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species. Please be advised that wristbands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.
The first Breitling Navitimer was designed for the AOPA, or Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for which the present all-black dial is signed. Only watches signed AOPA were distributed amongst the American association. Unsigned winged logos were commercially available through Breitling in Europe with an additional B to the dial. The earliest productions were notably without a reference number. In fact, the Navitimer did not have the formal reference number, 806, until later in 1955, making the present lot one of the last unmarked pieces manufactured.
Of special note are the 'beads of rice' to the bezel which varied from as many as 125 in the early 1950s to as few as 93 by 1960. The present lot is with over 120 beads which further confirms the early date of manufacture in 1955.
The present lot was manufactured in January 1955 and retains all of the exceptionally rare features of an early unmarked Navitimer. Indeed, the property was acquired from from a retired AOPA pilot. The watch was a coveted gift and rarely worn, leaving it in near impeccable condition with no previous polish in our view. Furthermore, inspection of the case inside and out strongly suggests that the watch was never serviced.
In 1952, Willy Breitling was approached to create a performance watch especially for pilots to perform necessary flight calculations such as average speed, fuel consumption, measurement conversations and distance travelled. Breitling adopted the logarithmic slide rule from their 1940's Chronomat wristwatches, and integrated a rotating bezel. Along with the Chronomat, the Breitling Navitimer remains one of the firm's most important models, offered through the decades in varying evolutions.
We are grateful to Mr Mark C. Heist for their kind assistance in compiling this lot.