SOLD – Breitling Navitimer AOPA Ref. 806 From 1960
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This stunning Breitling Navitimer AOPA reference 806 is an early iteration from 1960. It features the early style beaded bezel and original all black dial with luminous numerals and original “syringe” style hands. The dial is found in excellent original condition with some slight ageing mainly to the slide rule inner bezel. The dial features the applied AOPA logo (Airline Owners and Pilots Association) and is also signed Breitling Geneve, and Navitimer. The luminous on the dial appears original and matching with the hands, both showing a strong patina. The seconds register hand seems to have been replaced at some stage during its life. The stainless steel case measuring 40mm remains unpolished with pronounced beaded bezel and sharp faceted lugs. The watch is powered by a Venus calibre 178 manual wind movement marked “WOG” which was the import code for the USA market at the time. The movement is clean and is in very good working order. The beaded bezel has 93 beads which corresponds with the serial number and WOG import markings. The inside case back is signed Breitling Watch Corp and numbered 923,xxx. The movement is signed Breitling Watch Ltd. The crown & pushers appear to be original. The watch is complimented by a Kreisler brown leather strap & pin buckle.
Overall this is a great example of arguably the most iconic watch produced by Breitling. These early Navitimers remain at great value when compared to important models produced by other brands from the period.
Breitling and AOPA
The US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) approached Breitling in 1952, and asked them to create a new chronograph for its members. The watch would enable pilots to perform all necessary flight calculations, including average speed, distance traveled, fuel consumption, rate of climb or descent, and conversion of miles to kilometers or nautical miles. Willy Breitling adapted the original logarithmic slide of the 1940s Breilting Chronomat for aviation purposes and integrated it into a rotating bezel, with a beaded bezel to make it easier to use. The case was fixed at 41mm to make it large enough to ensure that all the information would be easy to read. The numerals were filled with radium that contrasted with the black dial and the oversized Arabic numerals to increase legibility. When the Navitimer was finally introduced to the AOPA, it was an instant success among the association members.
Kreisler were a New York based jewellery company established around 1913 their Jewellery side to company closed 1979. Kreisler contributed to the U.S. war effort. Their workforce of nearly 1,000 people produced cathode ray tubes, aircraft tubes, and manifold assemblies in addition to women and mens jewellery and watch attachments. After the war, the company returned to their core business of jewellery manufacture, adding cigarette lighters and pens to their inventory, and continued to produce aircraft parts. By 1950, they discontinued their womens fashion jewellery line. Their success in the aerospace industry continues today, but the jewellery division closed in 1979, after moving to Florida four years earlier.
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