BREITLING, NAVITIMER AOPA, FIRST GENERATION, BLACK DIAL, REF. 806
ICONEEK price: 9’500.- CHF
Iconeek is proud to introduce here a very rare, highly attractive and early stainless steel pilot’s chronograph wristwatch with black dial, “beads of rice” slide rule bezel: the Navitimer AOPA, Ref. 806.
In 1952, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) commissioned « Navitimer » watches by Breitling exclusively for pilots and AOPA members. The watches provided a slide rule bezel for calculating fuel consumption, flight duration and distance traveled. The name, « Navitimer » is a combination of the words « navigation » and « timer ». This soon became the official watch of the AOPA and the AOPA’s winged logo soon replaced the raised Breitling « B » on the dial. The earliest models did not tend to have a reference number, but were distinguishable by the engraved « Breitling » and « B » logos engraved on reverse on the case back.
Introduced circa 1953 (a prototype was presented in 1952) the Navitimer (the name was patented circa 1955) is one of the most iconic model of the Swiss brand. From 1954 to 1963, these highly sough-after models were featuring an all black dial with the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) wing logo and the "beads of rice" bezel, such as the present watch. According to scolars, around1954-1955, the reference number officially became 806. Few stylistic modifications were made to this classic, except that between 1954-1955, the reference number 806 was assigned to the timepiece and the Valjoux caliber 72 replaced the original Venus 178. The majority of the Navitimer wristwatches were cased in stainless steel.
On the first generation, the dial bears the AOPA "wing" logo with AOPA writtings, as the model was officially chosen by the AOPA for missions, no Breitling designation on the dial and no reference on the case back. On the second generation, circa 1963, the subdials are silvered to enhance the contrast, on these two-tone dials, the brand name appears, firstly "Breitling" then later "B, Breitling" above the AOPA logo. According to Breitling manufactory, several different layout of dial were made, with or without AOPA letters in the wing logo, reason why there is no transitionnal dial but simply different variations. The AOPA Navitimer was originally developed for the American market, and is consequently stamped on the movement with the U.S. import code « WOG » for the Wakmann Watch Co., the American sales arm of Breitling at the time, such as the present watch.
The present dial bears the AOPA wing logo without AOPA writings inside it, brand name « Breitling » followed by « Geneve ». According to the serial number 824869, the present watch was produced around 1954. Furthermore, as caliber Venus 178 was replaced by Valjoux 72, circa 1954, and reference number 806 was assigned to the timepiece also circa 1954, we can conclude that the present watch was probably belonging to the last batch of Venus 178 Navitimer.
The present model comes with a three-body construction: a large 40 mm. tonneau-shaped stainless steel case with downturned lugs, two round chronograph pushers, a snap on bi-directionnal rotating beaded steel bezel bearing the slide rule, a snap on stainless steel case back engraved with the reference number. Inside ticks a Venus 178, manual winding, copper colored, 17 jewels, straight line lever escapement, column-wheel mechanism, self-compensating Breguet balance spring, monometallic balance with timing screws, shock absorbers and index regulator. Dial, case and movement are signed. The size between the lugs is 21.70 mm.
The present early Navitimer model is a must-have for any distinguish collector or aeronautics fans, it is a rare and hard to find model, furthermore a good investment for an early model. When found preserved in such good and overall original condition, these early Navitimers can be considered rare collectors’ watches. A similar Ref. 806 , dating 1955, was sold recently at Phillips, « START-STOP-RESET » auction, May 2016, lot 33.
Condition: 8.5/10, in good overall condition for its age, some signs of wear in places, later luminous materials in the hands, movement recently serviced.
Model: Navitimer AOPA, first generation
Year: June 1960
Movement no.: -
Case no.: 824969
Material: stainless steel
Dial: patinated gloss black dial, luminous white hands
Movement: cal. Venus 178, copper colored, manual winding, 17 jewels, index regulator
Bracelet: leather strap
Dimensions: 40 mm diam. Thickness 14.10 mm.
Ref. ICO: 99-19-020D