Breitling Chronograph
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Breitling Chronograph

In the 1930s Breitling entered a new era: the era of Willy Breitling.

The grandson of the founder, Leon, Willy Breitling was brought up in the family business. Leon had made his name in the production of chronographs, making his first in 1884 at the age of 24. Following his death in 1914, his son Gaston continued the family legacy, taking the chronograph—so dear to his father—and adding a pusher at 2 o’clock in 1923.

But it was under Willy Breitling’s leadership that Breitling truly entered a golden age. In 1934 Breitling changed the architecture of the chronograph once again, adding a second pusher at 4 o’clock. The move was an absolute game-changer, one that was absolutely unprecedented in the industry.

A second pusher meant that start, stop, and reset could be separated, making the chronograph that more functional.

For professionals like pilots, whose jobs relied on accurate timekeeping, the chronograph became an indispensable piece of kit—a fact on which Willy Breitling capitalized when he designed the first chronograph specially for pilots in 1936.

The company continued to produce chronographs throughout the decade and well into the 1940s.

Though their pilots’ chronographs might be the most popular, it’s chronographs like this one that serve as an elegant counterpart to the kind of martial instruments that pilots would take into war.

At 33.5mm it’s typical of chronographs of the late 1930s or early 1940s. The delicacy of its pink gold case suggests that it was a gentleman’s rather than a soldier’s chronograph. Visually it’s a treat for the eyes, with the way the sinuous twists of the spiral telemeter and tachymeter tracks contrast with the glossy black dial.

While “bigger is better” might sum up Breitling’s current collection, it’s chronographs like this one from the brand’s golden age that prove the opposite. 

Details

SKU: AS02344

Pink gold case is approximately 33.5mm (excluding crown). Venus 150 Manually-Wound Chronograph Movement. Circa 1944.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with crisp lugs and minor signs of use and wear. Dial is in excellent condition with sharp printing and some signs of patina to the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands. Hour marker at 12 shows some signs of wear. Unsigned crown.

Includes one 17mm tan leather strap.

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