Breitling 'AOPA' Top Time

Breitling 'AOPA' Top Time

When it comes to watches, sometimes simpler is better.

Take the Breitling Top Time, for instance. Produced from 1964 to the 1970s, the Top Time was Breitling’s entry level chronograph line. Less complex and purpose-driven than the Navitimer or Chronomat, the Top Time was sporty without straying too far into “tool watch” territory, and had a price tag to match its stripped-down nature.

However, aesthetically the Top Time is as thoughtfully-executed as anything one would expect from such a behemoth of chronograph design.

Under Willy Breitling’s expert eye, the Top Time was marketed toward the younger consumer—men (and women) 25 and younger.

In his words: “We are sweeping into the field of youth and we are going to speak their language. Our special models [like the Top Time] are particularly suited to the needs of young and active professionals…”

The Top Time’s “bold new lines” and “rare and distinctive air” certainly attracted its intended consumer base (and wasn't hurt by an appearance on Sean Connery’s wrist in 1965’s Thunderball). Though Breitling used its highest-quality movements and materials for its flagship lines, the Top Time was no slouch either. The cases Breitling used for the Top Time were large for the day, at 38mm, and came in a variety of materials, from gold to stainless steel.

And the dials came in a kaleidoscopic range of colors, including funky “radio” patterns in the latter part of the model’s run, ideal for the fashion-forward young man (or woman).

But the most popular dials are perhaps the “panda” or “reverse panda” variants. In fact, it can be said that Breitling came up with the “reverse panda” color scheme in 1957, with the Reference 807 SuperOcean chronograph. This was a look that Breitling used throughout its catalogue, most notably in the Navitimer, but it was also seen frequently on the Top Time.

This particular Reference 810 also features the desirable AOPA logo on the dial, signifying a connection to the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, the post-war civilian organization that gave rise to a huge increase in civil aviation for both pleasure and privately-owned business. 

A rare combination to be sure, this Ref. 810 enjoys the Top Time namesake but wears a little larger than a Ref. 2002 with its longer lugs and slightly larger (38mm) case, all whilst bearing the historic aviation connection. A better-wearing, vintage chronograph from the still under-sung manufacture is hard to find. 


Available exclusively at Marshall Pierce.

SKU: AS02514

Stainless Steel case is approximately 38mm (excluding crown and pushers). Venus 178 Manually-Wound Chronograph movement. Late 1960s.

Overall Condition: The watch is in very good condition over all, with no glaring marks or degradation. Stainless steel case is in excellent condition with sharply beveled and no signs of over-polishing. Reverse Panda dial with AOPA logo is in very good condition, but shows some dark patination to sub dials and luminous material. Baton hour and minute hands are in good condition, as is the red chrono sweep hand. Pump pushers are crisp and function well. Breitling-signed crown. Compressor case back is in very good condition and bears all engravings.

Includes one chocolate brown 19mm leather with contrast stitching and steel buckle.

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