History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

Thread: History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

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  1. #1
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    Question History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

    So one of my grail watches has always been a Breitling Datora. Although my true love is the Ref. 799 and Ref. 805, I recently came across a lovely Ref. 785. Before purchasing it, however, I wanted to hear some thoughts from the pro's as to the history of this watch.

    The story I got:

    "This watch belonged to my mother in law's first husband that was a pilot. It has been stored in a safety deposit box for over 30 years. It has not been serviced and I do not know if it works. We have not messed with it because we did not want to damage it in any way."

    If you ask me, too good to be true...that being said...I'm praying that is accurate.

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    Two details stick out to me about this particular model:

    1) Gold case and stainless caseback. Reads: "STAINLESS STEEL BACK" + serial # + ref #
    • a) Is it possible this is a solid gold case that had the caseback replaced with that of a all-stainless model?
    • b) Is it possible this watch was all-stainless and the previous owner had the case replated in gold?
    • c) Is it possible this is a gold-plated model that came with a stainless back?
    • d) other



    2) The serial Number on the caseback is: 745xxx. This ages the watch at 1950. I do not know the production years of the Ref. 785 and would love to know, for better or for worse.


    Other than that, everything looks good on the surface. Unfortunately, the current seller does not know anything about watches and refused to take the caseback off, for fear of damaging the watch.

    Let me know what y'all think. I tried looking for a comprehensive history of the Datora line, but came up with nothing :/

    Thanks in advance for any guidance you bestow upon me.

    Joe

  2. #2
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    Re: History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

    QUICK UPDATE:

    Been in contact with Nick Pardo, of AnalogShift and he pointed out that because the caseback reads "STAINLESS STEEL BACK" it is evident that this caseback did indeed come with a gold-plated case. Whether or not Breitling made the Ref. 785 with a plated case or not is another matter that we're looking into.

    -Joe

  3. #3
    Breitling Forum Moderator SnapIT's Avatar
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    Re: History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

    Hello,

    Its a fine example and one well worth having serviced with the minimal of restoration of its required at all.

    Don't worry too much about the gold plating. It was a common visual enhancement and the SS back is completely in keeping with that level of finish. Somewhere on the case you may/should find an imprint like '20 micron' indicating the depth of the gold plate. Breitling went in for fairly heavy plate so I would expect to see 20 as a figure.

    As for servicing, contact Horological Services (horologicalservices.com) and start the discussion. They are in the USA and will offer the most comprehensive and sympathetic service. Expect to pay the right money and wait the 10-12 months (only a guess) to have the service completed.
    Cheers,
    SnapIT

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    Re: History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

    SnapIT,

    thank you so much for the reply. Horological's website seems to be down. Do you have any other contact information?

    Also, what sort of restoration should(n't) be done to the dial? The rest of the case can be cleaned up (without over-polishing of course) and the movement can be serviced. But what about the dial? I know most collectors want a beautifully, patina'd dial, but where's the line?

    -Joe

  5. #5
    Breitling Forum Moderator SnapIT's Avatar
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    Re: History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

    Indeed, google is reporting a hacking event has effected their web site. No doubt they're trying to put things right asap. Google also gave up the following info...
    Horological Services. Mark C. Heist, Watchmaker, CC, CW21 Theresa Heist, Associate Charles W. Emslie, LWT, CW21. Phone : (610) 367-7337. Fax: (610) 367-7342.
    Cheers,
    SnapIT

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  6. #6
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    Re: History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

    pretty cool watch!

  7. #7
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    Re: History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

    Thanks all!

    I'll give them a call tomorrow. What level of restoration are you thinkin on the dial? There's definitely a balance between being over-restored and in "bad shape", I'm just not sure where it is on a watch like this. It's hard to tell from the pictures, but I would like to at least be able to read all the dates around the dial.

  8. #8
    Breitling Forum Moderator SnapIT's Avatar
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    Re: History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

    I think you'll find that the aged lens is casting a lot of shade on the dial. If it was cleaned inside and out the real state of the dial would be evident and a decision on the level of restoration (required or not )would be much easier to arrive at. I've seen far worse.
    Cheers,
    SnapIT

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    Re: History of a Breitling Datora Ref. 785

    Thanks! Happy Easter!

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