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Don’t you love this Breitling ‘Jim Clark’ Twin jet Navitimer ref 806 from the late 1960s? Grab it while you can, this is one of the most iconic pilot chronographs ever made!
The Breitling Navitimer was introduced in 1952, more than 65 years ago. Navitimer watches are considered to be two of the world's true iconic pilot watches.
Jim Clark, the legendary two-time Formula One world champion, also known as The famous ‘Silent Champion’ of formula 1, did not only wear the now very sought after and extremely popular Enicar Sherpa Graph but he has been seen on many occasion wearing a Breitling Navitimer ref 806 while driving his Formula 1 race car.
Some of the history (source https://monochrome-watches.com/history-breitling-navitimer/)
"The Breitling Navitimer is an evolution of the 1942 Breitling Chronomat, with its typical slide rule bezel. Breitling decided to improve this highly practical bezel and in 1952, the ‘Navi’ was born. This slide rule bezel was used to calculate complicated operations without any other tool. The 1942 Chronomat came with an out-sourced movement, the Venus 176. It was long time used by the United States Air Forces. The bases of the Breitling were settled: a brand dedicated to pilots.
In 1884, the 24-years-old Léon Breitling, who was already a trained watchmaker, arrived in Saint-Imier to create his first chronograph. That same year is also considered as the official founding year of Breitling. In 1892 the young company moved to La Chaux-de-Fonds and produced chronograph pocket watches under the name “G. Léon Breitling SA Montbrillant Watch Factory”. Within the years, Breitling had seen an increasing demand for dashboard clocks (in planes) and for military chronographs. In 1915, Breitling introduced its first wrist chronograph with central seconds and a 30-minute counter, allowing the pilots to achieve basic calculations.
Background: Pilot watches with chronograph by Breitling
In 1923, Breitling introduced the first chronograph with pusher (usually, start and reset of the chronograph was made through the crown). In 1934, Willy Breitling, the successor of Léon, came with an idea that is the norm for decades now, the two pushers chronograph – one to start and pause the chronograph and one to reset timing. But Willy wanted to go further in the idea of a calculation tool and asked the mathematician Marcel Robert to create a slide rule bezel that could perform complex logarithmic calculations. He created a scale with the 3 most important units for pilots: STAT for standard mileage, KM for kilometres and NAUT for nautical miles. This on-the-wrist computer (remember that the pilots in the 40s were working only with digital tools) allowed pilots to calculate fuel consumptions, average speeds or climbing speeds.
Breitling Navitimer: a mini-computer for pilots
In 1952, the very first Navitimer adorned the “Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association” (AOPA) emblem on its dial (the typical double-wing logo) and by 1960, a real cooperation with the AOPA began. The “Navitimer” name is the contraction of “navigation” and “timer”. The first edition to be sold was the reference 806, powered by a manual chronograph movement with column wheel mechanism, the Venus 178. These early specimens are now highly collectible, and depending on the condition and the edition (AOPA or not, gold filled or stainless steel, full black or reverse panda dial), they can reach between 2.000Eur and 10.000Eur. The stainless steel versions are among the easiest to find but also the most sought-after. The later gold plated editions are less popular. Some very rare 18K solid gold editions can even reach up to 10.000Eur. One special feature for the year 1954: the 806 were equipped with a Valjoux 72 (the same movement as the vintage Rolex Daytona) and thus, are among the most collectible ones."
This is a very nice Breitling Navitimer from the late 1960ies and I rate this watch as ‘very good’ not a show class new old stock but really good, which is reflected in the price. When I discovered this piece I thought it had been repainted. But after inspecting the dial it is all original. And it is really, exceptionally good!
CASE and BACK: this watch measures a large 41 x 48.3 mm case not including crown and is 13mm to the top of the flush fit crystal. The heavy all-steel case does not appear to have ever been polished and still shows its original bevels and contrast satin-polished finish. There are very few superficial scratches and some nicks commensurate with a normally worn 49-year-old tool watch — Fantastic vintage condition overall. The outer part of the snap steel back has some very light and superficial scratches but shows its original Breitling nomenclature of the period including the 1160446 serial number on the outside, which indicates a 1966 production, and correct 806 reference–also Excellent original cosmetic condition. The inner caseback shows no corrosion and has the correct internal Breitling engraving of the era.
BEZEL & SLIDERULE: The Coin edged rotating bezel is in good condition . The bezel itself rotates with good tension in both directions as designed. Sliderule is in fantastic condition
DIAL & HANDS: A Matte black and white dial with white printing and finely calibrated track and only the minor imperfections , this later 60s Navitimer has the big white silver subdials (reverse panda dial) with nice and even patina. All original ‘cream’ colored Tritium luminous numbers that has darkened in places. Above the Breiting logo are the Twin Jets. All original hands
CROWN & PUSHERS: Signed Breitling crown looks very clean and winds and pulls out to the time-setting position as it should. It sits tightly against the case. The two pusher caps are likewise in Excellent shape and both chrono pushers work as they should and also nice and crisply.
CRYSTAL: Large flush-fit acrylic crystal is Excellent and without scratches and no marks and sits barely proud of the bezel, which I believe to be correct for this model.
MOVEMENT: Legendary Venus 178 chronograph movement is looking bright and working well with all correct Breitling nomenclature of the era and shock protection. Watch is keeping good time with a strong power reserve and all chronograph functions are working properly and returning to zero. This is guaranteed to be the case at the time of shipment.
BOX & PAPERS: This watch comes without any of the original warranty papers