Chronographs are funny things. In the past chronos offered a time-saving (even life-saving) complication, in today's digital age the passage of time is signaled not by the stately sweep of a chronograph hand, but by the sound of marimbas. Collectors on forums across the Internet engage in spirited debated about the utility of a chronograph: given that most people these days use their phones as alarms or timers, the chronograph could be considered a useless function, the registers on the dial needless clutter.
But we love a good chronograph here at Analog/Shift, and there's no denying that certain brands do them exceptionally well.
Breitling first started manufacturing wrist chronographs as early as the 1930s, and in 1936 became official supplier to air forces of the United Kingdom and Canada. While perhaps best known for their Navitimer and Chronomat lines--which were used heavily by pilots of many nations--Breitling also produced scores of other chronograph models that merit consideration.
Starting in the 1930s, Breitling chronographs were distributed in Sweden under the firm of Kronometer Stockholm. Though the distributor sold watches by brands other than Breitling, it's these fine Breitling chronographs with the distinctive Kronometer Stockholm logo that have become the most desirable.
Collecting Breitlings with the Kronometer Stockholm logo has become a past-time among collectors of vintage Breitling. This particular chronograph bears a later Kronometer Stockholm logo, with the letter K inside a crown, used from the late 1940s to the 1970s, when Breitling's agreement with Kronometer Stockolm lapsed. Prior to the 1940s, the logo was written in bold Art Deco letters.
This particular example is a Reference 788, notable for its three-register dial layout. A handsome silver originally, over the years the dial has darkened slightly in places to a lovely champagne hue--particularly in the chronograph registers. With its light dial and elegant tapered lugs, it's a reminder of the versatility of vintage Breitling.
Stainless steel case is approximately 34mm (excluding crown and pushers). Breitling Reference 788. Manually-wound chronograph movement. Circa 1950s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp lugs and no signs of over-polishing. Case does have minimal signs of use and wear in keeping with its age, including some faint scratches on the lugs and the side of the case. Dial is in very good condition with minimal signs of age, most notably in the chronograph registers. Unsigned crown. Breitling case back has some signs of use and wear, including some light tool marks.
Includes one 18mm dark brown leather strap and two 18mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle