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FS: Breitling Vintage Clamshell Waterproof Chronograph Venus 175

ChronoScope presents this elusive and highly sought after, original Breitling chronograph with a clamshell case from the early 1940s. This is a striking example that stood the test of time to tell its story, dotted with historical innovation and carrying a tremendous heritage!

The Saint-Imier Manufacture was established in 1884 by Léon Breitling, an avid watches lover. To keep up with fierce competitors, Léon focused on the chronographs niche. In 1915, Gaston Breitling conceived the brand’s first chronograph wristwatch, which drew worldwide appreciation to become widely adopted as the standard due to the comfort of new configuration, by placing the pusher at 2 o’clock, instead of the usual 6 o’clock position.

The Clamshell case was patented in 1937 by Schmitz Frères under patent no. 189190 and consisted of a more water resistant two-body watertight compartment that was securely held by four screws. Gallet purchased the rights to the Schmitz Frères patent in early 1937 and adapted it to create the world’s first waterproof chronograph. They also produced Clamshell cases for a handful of manufacturers. One of them was Breitling.

Breitling clamshells appear far less often than their Gallet counterparts, which are collectable in their own right.

Please read the condition report carefully to help you assess the overall condition of the watch.

MODEL / REFERENCE: Breitling Clamshell Multiscale Chronograph. The 403809 serial number dates its production period to circa the early 1940s.

 DIAL+HANDS: The precious pearl inside the protective clam is the double Swiss black gilt glossy dial, featuring a dual register chronograph layout indicating constant running seconds at nine o’clock and a 45 minutes counter at 3’oclock.

Although it shows very minor spotting, the dial is incredibly intact without scratches or chipping and it has taken a lovely patina consistent with its age.

The phenomenally preserved printing is original. From the snail tachymeter scale at the center, to the incredible telemeter scale surrounding the edge of the dial which was often used by military personnel to measure the distance between something that is heard and seen such as artillery fire.  

The 1/5 minute divisions, along with the five minute luminous Arabic numerals are outstandingly intact. The Radium lume has turned into a warm custard patina.

The lume coated alpha hands are correct to the watch, with complete Radium lume that matches the hour marker’s warm tone.

CRYSTAL: This timepiece comes fitted with a flared acrylic crystal, which is in very good condition, showing no visible marks or scratches.

MOVEMENT: Inside this clam, we can find a manually wound, rhodium plated Venus 175 caliber, featuring a two-button, two-register, chronograph display.

This movement has a straight line lever escapement, a monometallic balance, a self- compensating Breguet balance-spring and an index regulator. Movements from this period were often unsigned, which is also the case with this watch.

 It was professionally overhauled thus fully functional, ticks strong and is a true bliss to operate.

 CASE: The two-body stainless steel clamshell case feels sturdy and keeps its true essence with a sweet spot diameter of 35mm across and a 42mm lug to lug.

The case is still in lovely condition considering its age and does not show signs of over-polishing, or much at all. With strong profiling lines, a brushed finish, even concave lugs and a flat bezel.  

CASEBACK: The single-step case back is held in the reverse side of the lugs by 4 grub screws that keep pressure and hold the whole case together. The overall condition is very good, seeing the minor surface scuffs, the brushed finish and the crisply stamped text, along with the case’s serial number.

The inner face features a perlage finish and a stamped Patent number 189190.

CROWN + PUSHERS: The oversized winding crown is original despite being unsigned. It is in good condition and operates flawlessly, from winding to time setting. The gasket sealed chronograph pushers operate crisply. They start, stop and reset the chronograph module exactly at 12.

BRACELET: This chronograph comes equipped with a very handsome, genuine brown leather strap with a lizard motif and 18mm in width.

ACCESSORIES: ChronoScope Saffiano Leather watch roll.

In recent years these incredible clamshell cased watches have skyrocketed in popularity for good reasons. Despite their rarity, the build quality and reliability of these demonstrates a level of dedication to longevity and quality that exceeds some of their competitors.

This chronograph truly exemplifies what these pieces are all about. This watch has proudly served its purpose while remaining utterly beautiful, so finding one in similar condition is a unicorn worth coveting.

WARRANTY: We guarantee the authenticity of the watch. We also provide a 12 months guarantee for the correct function of this timepiece. All guarantees are subject to the General Terms and conditions of ChronoScope Collector Watches, Switzerland. 

The price is 7,800 CHF (Swiss Franc) or best reasonable offer plus shipping at actual cost. Low ball offers will be politely ignored.
Watch and I are in Switzerland.
Feel free to ask questions, I will be glad to answer.

Please feel free to ask questions, we will be glad to answer. Virtual or face-to-face viewing is available by appointment.

ChronoScope Collector Watches, Luzern, Switzerland.

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