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 Post subject: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:42 pm 
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Hi all,

whatever happened to the discussion about the first Navitimers, did we ever definitely find out if there was a 1953 version, or is the `54 Valjoux 72 AOPA the first one ?
It`s so poor that Breitling doesn`t provide any records and are obviously not interested to help and support their fans.

Cheers, Julius


Last edited by Julius on Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 5:13 am 
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I don't think that there will ever be a definitive answer.

Breitling are clearly sticking to the 1952 story - just look at The Book. Until someone can find a 1952 806 that no one disputes we will always be speculating - and I suspect that it will be impossible to find a 1952 that everyone agrees on - just look at the debate when a '1953' shows up.


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 9:23 am 
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There is a definitive answer . . . ! ! !

The first Navitimers became available to the public in 1954, it was the Valjoux 72 AOPA.

We know enough now to say that it is out of the question that there was ever an earlier one, and that includes the ones with 82xxxx serial numbers.

According to Breitling chronograph production records, Tomvox1’s AOPA with the serial number 824xxx (I know the rest) was produced as a 1953 Ref. 503 stopwatch chrono, according to the same records, the same serial number with 92 instead of 82, was a 1960 806 Navitimer.
The watch can be seen here viewtopic.php?f=11&t=16896

According to Breitling themselves, they are not in the possession of any documents that van verify the production of a 1952 or 53 Navitimer.

If any had been made, even if it was a very limited amount, at least 1 trustworthy example would have surfaced.


Kurt B


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 1:15 pm 
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Kurt B wrote:

We know enough now to say that it is out of the question that there was ever an earlier one, and that includes the ones with 82xxxx serial numbers.

According to Breitling chronograph production records, Tomvox1’s AOPA with the serial number 824xxx (I know the rest) was produced as a 1953 Ref. 503 stopwatch chrono, according to the same records, the same serial number with 92 instead of 82, was a 1960 806 Navitimer.
The watch can be seen here viewtopic.php?f=11&t=16896


What is good from my perspective about this answer is that I was told that my Breitling 804 was a horrible fake because its caseback SN "belonged to a stopwatch," and both these answers were most probably furnished by the same source that has given Kurt access to this info...

Image

Image

And I quote: "...the serial number 833361 in Breitling's production records belongs to a Ref. 501 chrome case stop watch with 18-ligne movement."

Sooooo...I think it is win-win for me:
1) Looks like Breitling monkeyed around with their serial numbers (at least in the records these experts have access to) and so those records should be taken with a grain of salt--after all, the whole concept of the "1959 92xk but stamped 82xk" 806s originated with these same experts AFAIK.
2) And/Or Breitling may have models other than just the 806 produced out of sequence/stamped incorrectly with "8" instead of "9" or mis-stamped in some other manner--this would not be unheard of at all in the world of vintage watches despite what some Vintage Breitling enthusiasts like to believe about the infallibility/predictability of Breitling's production regimen.

Either way, I like my 804 and believe it to be absolutely genuine whatever the experts think because I have years of vintage watch experience to go by and it hits all the notes for me...

Image

...and I certainly like my 806 whether it was one of the first All-Black AOPAs or one of the last...

Image

:D
Best,
T.

P.S. Of course that one p-rick Chris though my 806 was Franken all along so maybe Kurt and him will duke it out for Vintage Breitling "King of the World" on these competing theories and we will have that to look forward to. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 1:49 pm 
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Tom,

Your watch is 100% genuine Breitling, there’s absolutely nothing at all that is faked, the fact that the serial is wrong does not make it a fake, the mistake was made by Breitling.

And there’s no reason not to love it, it’s a wonderful & beautiful watch.

after all, the whole concept of the "1959 92xk but stamped 82xk" 806s originated with these same experts AFAIK.

The facts originates from me (Kurt B), Mark & Theresa Heist of Horological Services, and from Breitling themselves.

Breitling service records since 1990 show Ref. 806 Navitimers with serial numbers 825451, 825277, 825365, 825094 824725, 824865 and 824984. When reviewing the factory production records, these serial numbers were for models with completely different reference numbers including Ref. 503, 1197 and 2100 containing different movements, not the Venus 178.

These appear to be serial number anomalies for several reasons. It is highly probably that the serial #92XXXX should have been used. As stated above, all of the watches under scrutiny here were not documented as Ref. 806 in the original written records. Furthermore, all do possess the characteristics of a later watch circa 1960’s:
• All have the larger beads on the bezel, which is seen after 1957
• In all cases we note the absence of a casing ring that was secured by 3 screws plus 2 movement casing screws. These were used until about September 1958, as by at least July 1959 a different arrangement was used requiring only 2 screws to secure the movement directly to the case middle.

The next issue is the import code. BOW seems to have been used up to 1957. We document an 806/897054 (November 1957) with WOG import code but do not have a movement picture.

The next issue is the shock protection seen on some of the 82XXXX. We are seeing this non incabloc shock protection being used throughout various models, not just the 806. It seems to be a later type as it is not used in any other models early on. It seems to have been introduced around 1960. It is seen in a “legitimate” Ref. 806/924310, circa 1960.


References:
• Breitling chronograph production records
• Photograph archives of Horological Services, Factory authorized vintage Breitling service for the USA
• Mark & Theresa Heist, Horological Services, personal experience working on vintage Breitling chronographs for 19 years.
• Kurt B’s personal experience from 10 years of collecting Navitimers, and having bought close to 300 of them.



tomvox1 wrote:
Kurt B wrote:

1) Looks like Breitling monkeyed around with their serial numbers (at least in the records these experts have access to) and so those records should be taken with a grain of salt--after all, the whole concept of the "1959 92xk but stamped 82xk" 806s originated with these same experts AFAIK.


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 2:23 pm 
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Roffensian wrote:
I don't think that there will ever be a definitive answer.

Breitling are clearly sticking to the 1952 story - just look at The Book. Until someone can find a 1952 806 that no one disputes we will always be speculating - and I suspect that it will be impossible to find a 1952 that everyone agrees on - just look at the debate when a '1953' shows up.

In front of me is a letter of Breitling, dated Grenchen May 11th, 2010, with following information (in German):

a) Our cooperation with AOPA started only in the year 1954.
b) 1958 presumably a series of Navitimers was produced which was equipped with back covers from the year 1953. Therefore it can occur that a Navitimer with a dial from 1958 has a serial number from 1953.
c) Before 1954 the watch was produced as small series "Government Issue" and it was named Navigation Timer. Hence the name Navitimer, registered in 1955.

As soon as I can use my scanner again I shall submit a copy of this letter.

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 3:46 pm 
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Chris K wrote:
Roffensian wrote:
I don't think that there will ever be a definitive answer.

Breitling are clearly sticking to the 1952 story - just look at The Book. Until someone can find a 1952 806 that no one disputes we will always be speculating - and I suspect that it will be impossible to find a 1952 that everyone agrees on - just look at the debate when a '1953' shows up.

In front of me is a letter of Breitling, dated Grenchen May 11th, 2010, with following information (in German):

a) Our cooperation with AOPA started only in the year 1954.
b) 1958 presumably a series of Navitimers was produced which was equipped with back covers from the year 1953. Therefore it can occur that a Navitimer with a dial from 1958 has a serial number from 1953.
c) Before 1954 the watch was produced as small series "Government Issue" and it was named Navigation Timer. Hence the name Navitimer, registered in 1955.

As soon as I can use my scanner again I shall submit a copy of this letter.

Chris



Fair dos, but Breitling are still clearly not that clear on the issue either - see pp124 - 125 of The Book - still stating 1952 and "in its early days, the Navitimer was still what today is called a 'niche product', a chronograph reserved for a specific public, and Breitling waited until 1955 to register the brand. Before then the Navitimer was rarely mentioned in journals or advertising."

Maybe that's a cryptic reference to the Government clients that your letter refers to?


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 6:07 pm 
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Quote:
Kurt B’s personal experience from 10 years of collecting Navitimers, and having bought close to 300 of them.


Kurt B the biggest Breitling dealer in this universe.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2010 8:40 pm 
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Kurt B wrote:
Tom,
Your watch is 100% genuine Breitling, there’s absolutely nothing at all that is faked, the fact that the serial is wrong does not make it a fake, the mistake was made by Breitling.


I think you miss my point, Kurt.
I am perfectly content to believe "the mistake in the serial # was made by Breitling" theory. I have seen this many times in other vintage watch brands.
However, what I find extremely paradoxical and hypocritical even is when the same people advocating this theory (you know who, last name begins with "H") tell me that another model reference cannot possibly be an authentic example because the SN is supposedly for a stopwatch and, well, Breitling does not make mistakes with their serial numbers. :?
Frankly, I just do not understand the dogmatic nature of Vintage Breitling "experts" and I definitely find them to be the least open-minded of all the brand enthusiasts that I have interacted with, bar none. And needless to say, I have doubts about the Gospel that many of them are preaching.
This is why I spend less and less time on this brand and on this forum. Love the watches. Much less enamored with the collectors. :roll:
Best,
T.

P.S. While he is unfortunately not unique, Chris K is the perfect example of the know-it-all, "take my word for it" Vintage Breitling "expert" that makes trying to make progress here such a giant PITA.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:03 am 
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Well. Hmmmm. I don't know quite how to take such an indictment.

To my thinking, it's the preponderance of evidence that leads one to have confidence in certain conclusions, and that goes for anomalous 1953 806s and your moonphase. My conclusions were formed before knowing what records might have existed for those serials.

And, I would love to know more about the stray reference to "government issue." Which government? That's a real tease and they should be able to say more.

Sorry to see you go, Tom, you're the best internet image hunter around.

And, I see that Norbert/Michael/Herbert/Alex is back.

A twisted thread, indeed.


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PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:16 am 
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Bill in Sacramento wrote:
.

And, I see that Norbert/Michael/Herbert/Alex is back.



I have thought the same thing, but wasn't sure - if we can demonstrate it then I'll act, anyone with information please PM me.

In terms of the rest of this thread, I guess that it's going in 'the usual' direction, the opportunity to make progress diminished by the belief that passionately held beliefs stated strongly can magically become facts.

Personally, I'd love to try and learn the truth, not hear opinions that I have heard too many times before.

But then I think I must be naive.


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 5:42 am 
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alexmedwejew wrote:
Quote:
Kurt B’s personal experience from 10 years of collecting Navitimers, and having bought close to 300 of them.


Kurt B the biggest Breitling dealer in this universe.
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:



Poor call, which I think doesn`t belong here because it doesn`t get us any further.
I feel pathetic jealousy of a pitiful character with serious signs of a mental disease.
The diction and the undertone reminds me of somebody who used to post here.
I´m tired of reading such sayings after putting up an objective question.
The intention of the forum should be the exchange of facts and knowledge.
However, I don`t think that Kurt wants to be the "biggest Breitling dealer", but just an honest and reliable guy with authentic watches in great condition in contrary to others with obviously very
questionable junk for dream prices !

Get well soon, thanks in advance !

Julius


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 6:59 am 
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So at least now we have solved the questionable 1953 pieces with the characteristics of a later watch circa 1960’s:, and I assume that we can agree that they are wrong.

If you want to go by Breitling, then let’s go by the letter Chris K received from them. Here they state that the pre 1954 produced watches they mention as “government issue” was named Navigation Timer, but the watch we all are talking about are the Navitimer, the one that according to Breitling themselves was registered in 1955.

So the conclusion must be that the first Navitimer was the 1954 Valjoux 72 AOPA.

If one thinks that it’s a “passionately held belief”, then please let me know, as it is not being meant as such. I have sought for the answer to this question for so long time, and it means a lot to me that it finally looks like I found the answer.

If somebody wants to call me an expert or The Big Lebowski when it comes to Navitimers, then feel free to do so, I couldn’t care less. I think that Julius’s description of me hits spot on, but then again – he has met me in person.

Regarding Breitling.: I personally don’t believe that there was a so called Navigation Timer, simply because it is unlikely that never even a single piece have surfaced, they don’t even have one themselves, and as Bill mentioned “what government”?

Regardless whether we go by the letter from Chris K or The Book Roff mention, the conclusion from Breitling is the same, and the way I see it is, that they can’t once of a sudden change what they have stated since day one, so by saying what they do “a chronograph reserved for a specific public, and Breitling waited until 1955 to register the brand. Before then the Navitimer was rarely mentioned in journals or advertising." & “Before 1954 the watch was produced as small series "Government Issue" and it was named Navigation Timer. Hence the name Navitimer, registered in 1955.” , they IMO they now indirectly confirm that the first Navitimer came out in 1954, but without changing what they have always stated, that it started in 1952.


/ Kurt


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 7:29 am 
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Roffensian wrote:
Fair dos, but Breitling are still clearly not that clear on the issue either - see pp124 - 125 of The Book - still stating 1952 and "in its early days, the Navitimer was still what today is called a 'niche product', a chronograph reserved for a specific public, and Breitling waited until 1955 to register the brand. Before then the Navitimer was rarely mentioned in journals or advertising."

Maybe that's a cryptic reference to the Government clients that your letter refers to?
Correct supposition.

Since it might take some time until I have my computer newly formated and can use my scanner again I shall copy the letter and add an English translation:



Grenchen, 11. Mai 2010


Ihre Fragen betreffend Breitling Vintage Uhren
Your questions concerning Breitling vintage watches


Sehr geehrter Herr K.....,
Dear Mr K.....,


Wir bedanken uns für Ihr Schreiben und freuen uns über Ihr Interesse an unseren Breitling Vintage Zeitmessern.
We thank you for your letter and are pleased with your interest in our Breitling vintage timepieces.

Wir werden versuchen, einen Teil Ihrer Fragen zu beantworten.
We shall try to answer a part of your questions.

Die Navitimer wurde 1952 hergestellt aber bis 1954 wurde die Uhr noch nicht in der Öffentlichkeit verkauft.
The Navitimer was produced in 1952 but until 1954 the watch was not yet sold in the public.

Vor 1954 wurde die Uhr als Kleinserie "Government Issue" hergestellt und sie hiess Navigation Timer.
Before 1954 the watch was produced as small series "Government Issue" and it was named Navigation Timer.

Daher stammt der Name Navitimer, der 1955 registriert wurde.
Hence the name Navitimer, registered in 1955.

Wie es häufig der Fall ist mit der Staatsregierung, wurden die Dokumente nicht zur Verfügung gestellt.
As it is frequently the case with the Government, documents have not been made available.

Ausserdem, weil es sich um militärisch ausgestellte Uhren handelt, wurden sie nach dem Dienst wahrscheinlich verworfen.
Besides, because it concerned watches for military purposes, they probably have been destroyed afterwards.

1958 wurde vermutlich eine Serie von Navitimern hergestellt, die mit Gehäuseböden aus dem Jahre 1953 ausgerüstet wurden.
1958 presumably a series of Navitimers was produced which was equipped with back covers from the year 1953.

Deswegen kann es vorkommen, dass eine Navitimer mit einem Zifferblatt aus 1958 eine Seriennummer aus 1953 hat.
Therefore it can occur that a Navitimer with a dial from 1958 has a serial number from 1953.

Unsere Zusammenarbeit mit AOPA hat erst im Jahr 1954 gegonnen.
Our cooperation with AOPA started only in the year 1954.

Den Vertrag (Original oder Kopie) haben wir in unserem Archiv leider nicht.
The contract (original or copy) unfortunately is not in our archives.

Alle anderen von Ihnen angeforderten Unterlagen existieren leider ebenfalls nicht mehr in unserem Archiv.
Unfortunately all other documents requested by you also do not exist in our archives anymore.

Wir hoffen, dass die obigen Angaben die Situation etwas verständlicher gemacht haben.
We hope that the above informations have made the situation somewhat more understandable.

Freundliche Grüße,
Friendly regards,

BREITING SA

Sébastien Baranyai
Customer Relation

(The 'Staatsregierung' is of course the Swiss Government.)



Hope this helps.

Regards,
Chris


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 Post subject: Re: Navitimer 806 AOPA
PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2010 11:11 am 
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Quote:
This is why I spend less and less time on this brand and on this forum. Love the watches. Much less enamored with the collectors.


Sorry you feel this way Tom. I always enjoy your posts, you're not afraid to go out on a limb with a theory and you argue your case based on the facts. I always look forward to seeing your name involved in a discussion.

Quote:
I definitely find them to be the least open-minded of all the brand enthusiasts that I have interacted with


Most of the other brands you refer to have been the focus of more scrutiny and discussion for longer periods of time, but certainly in the eight years of reading many different forums I can't see anymore inflexibility here than I have found in many others. I once read an interview with Jeff Hess where he stated that the main reason he wrote his book with James Dowling was because everytime he showed a rare rolex other dealers would say they were wrong or put togethers, he finally had enough and wrote the book. (which people also crticise and say there are made up watches in it).

This forum is the first time that there has been a dedicated vintage Breitling board and what excites me is the converstaions we're having where many people hold different pieces of the puzzle and they slowly come together, this is the first time the debate has been so focused IMHO. So much of Breitling is an undiscovered country.

Are we going to make mistakes, you bet, are we going to revise opinions on things, you bet. Spend a little time with the Broadarrow archive disc and you'll see how many watches that were originally questioned slowly became accepted or better understood. It's the nature of the beast.

At the moment we are besieged by fakes and frankens, we are not alone vintage Omega's and Rolex's have been faked wholesale since I started collecting, but this means we are more suspicious of the pieces that fall out of the normal, also the drawback of the internet is that we can't handle or see the watches directly. I am currently looking at a watch which I won't buy until my watchmaker has fully disassembled it and we've examined and questioned each part of it and it's not a Breitling.

The pre-war years of Breitling may never be truly unraveled, but with the internet we have unprecedented access to view and compare thousands of watches. In a week of looking online you can see more vintage Breitling's than a top dealer can see in five years. All we can do is keep asking the questions and arguing the positions and digging for the facts.


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