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We're all fairly familiar with Breitling's vintage chronograph offerings. If asked, we can rattle off a list of them: Navitimer, Chronomat, Top Time, Superocean 2005. But that only scratches the surface of all the chronographs Breitling has to offer. There are numerous other chronographs Breitling has manufactured over their 132-year history, and while many not be as recognizable or iconic as those other chronos, their frank designs and sturdy construction merit consideration.
Breitling first started manufacturing wrist chronographs as early as the 1930s. With functional, legible dials, simple case designs, and blued steel hands, they're an exercise in understated elegance. One could almost say they're dress watches. Sure, they're not as sporty (and not nearly as large) as the later Navitimer, but just one look will reveal that Breitling wasn't always making massive function-first wrist computers.
Outwardly, the steel barrel case is pleasing to eye with its thin bezel and its gently tapered lugs and pleasing to the wrist at a svelte but sturdy 35mm. As contemporary Breitling continues to grow in size - despite a renaissance of smaller, slimmer case sizes - enthusiasts are looking to the brand's past to find quality-built chronos that belie the idea that bigger is always better.
This particular model (Reference 178) features an up/down chronograph configuration, with a 45-minute register at 12:00 and a subsidiary seconds function at 6:00. Powered by a Venus 170, the chronograph functions are operated by a set of oversized rectangular pushers located on either side of its unsigned crown. With a crisp, unpolished case and a pleasing original dial with glossy printed markers and subtle triple tone blue/red/black scales, this untouched beauty positively gleams on the wrist, its silvery hue accented by the brightly polished hour and minute hands and blued steel chronograph and subsidiary seconds hands.
As more and more attention is brought to steel chronographs from the post-war years, there is little question that pieces such as this one will be snatched up and stowed away as continue to rise. This is an exceptional watch that is not only a tremendous Breitling, but a brilliant example that epitomizes what was perhaps the greatest era for sporting chronographs.
Steel case is approximately 35mm (excluding crown and pushers). Breitling Reference 178. Venus Calibre 170 manually-winding chronograph movement. Circa 1953.
Overall Condition: This piece is in excellent condition over all, with an immaculate case with only the faintest signs of wear. Original dial is in excellent condition with crisp printing and no signs of refinishing. Unsigned crown and snap case back.
Includes one 18mm analog/shift Highland Strap.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options