Navitimers (and some Cossies), a journey over 57 years .....
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  1. #1
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    Navitimers (and some Cossies), a journey over 57 years .....

    Just a short journey - a bit pic heavy - from 1954 to 2011.

    It has been a bit quiet here recently and I seem to be only "surviving" vintage aficionado - had prepared this post for a rather puristic forum, thought you too might enjoy to go on a journey in time with me.

    I will not bother you with too much historical information, a lot has been written about the Navitimers, though much of that is slightly incorrect.

    Breitling launched their first sliderule chronograph in 1941 or 1942, the Chronomat ref. 769; the patent application for the logarithmic sliderule was filed in September 1940 and granted in January 1942, the ref. 769 proved to be highly successful - and has influenced the design of all sliderule Breitlings until today.

    In the early 1950s Breitling and AOPA (the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) - maybe motivated by the success of the Jardur Bezelmeter - adapted the Chronomat sliderule design to fit aviation requirements and named it the NAVIgationTIMER; quite a chunky watch for the times with a diameter of 40mm it offered pilots calculation tools for ground speeds, gasoline consumption, rates of climb and descent, climb and descent distances and more.

    Breitling still claims the Navitimer was launched in 1952 and last year celebrated their 60th anniversary - though evidence shows the Navitimer was only launched in small quantities in 1954, mass production started in 1955.

    The mythical 1952 and 1953 Navitimers probably result from misnumbered cases - the watches that bear those serial numbers have all the specifics (movement, case, import marking WOG instead of BOW, bead numbers on the bezel) of late 1950s Navitimers, an example of these below; confronted with the evidence Breitling now claims there were Navitimers produced for military use in 1952 - but they can not disclose which army commissioned them, still secret.
    Yeah, sure.

    I must mention the Navitimer-uberguru Kurt Broendum and "Dracha" Renè, without their persistent research we would probably still believe the Breitling lore.

    In the first years AOPA had an exclusive distribution agreement for the Navitimer 806 (displaying their logo on the dial instead of the Breitling brand), but quite soon Breitling-branded pieces appeared for markets outside the US.

    So, enough of the blah; let's start the journey with a family shot, spanning the years from 1955 to 2011:



    1955

    Navitimer 806 V1b, Valjoux V72 (V1a would be the even rarer 1954s without reference numbers. 1952 Navitimers are a myth).








    1956

    Navitimer 806 V1c, Venus V178






    1956

    Navitimer 806 V1c, Venus V178



    1958

    Navitimer 806 V1c, Venus V178 (fully restored, dial relumed, sliderule replaced)



    1958 or 1959

    Navitimer 806 V1c, Venus V178; serial number would indicate 1953, but all characteristics prove it to be a late 1950s, one of the misnumbered cases that most probably are the reason for that 1952/53 launch myth.





    1964

    Navitimer 806 V2, Venus V178, a twin-plane or two






    1965
    Navitimer 806 V2, Venus V178, AOPA & "boxed 10"






    1966

    Navitimer 806 V2, Venus V178, AOPA




    1966
    Cosmonaute 809



    1967
    Navitimer 806 V2, Venus V178, twin plane "boxed 10"





    1971

    Navitimer 7806, Valjoux 7740



    1973
    Navitimer 7806-S, modified Valjoux V7740





    1986-94
    Navitimer reborn; some "Lemania Cossie" 81600, a Navitimer was launched in the same case, both Lemania 1873




    1995
    Old Navitimer 1, Valjoux 7750



    2001

    Navitimer Mècanique Japan LE (400 in black); Lemania 1873. Rare bird, but really quite nice.






    2004-2010
    Navitimer A23322, modified Valjoux 7750





    2011
    Navitimer 01






    Navitimer 2014 ?
    Who knows, but it will most probably be based on the Chronomat 769 from 1940 and the Navitimer 806. Talk about extended design life .....
    Last edited by WatchFred; October 7th, 2013 at 16:28.
    O2AFAC67, Dracha, Cat91 and 4 others like this.

  2. #2
    Member CaptRimmer's Avatar
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    Re: Navitimers (and some Cossies), a journey of over 57 years .....

    Errrrrr....I was going to say one word (Wow!) but I find myself speechless.
    Absolutely awesome Fred.
    Cheers,
    Andy
    Hidden Content There are no pockets in shrouds

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    Re: Navitimers (and some Cossies), a journey of over 57 years .....

    are those all yours? Jesus Christ they are all beautiful

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    Re: Navitimers (and some Cossies), a journey of over 57 years .....

    Great to see them all flowing on from eahc other like that. More consistent than even the Porsche 911!
    The Mecanique LE is still my favourite though

  5. #5
    Member Dracha's Avatar
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    Re: Navitimers (and some Cossies), a journey of over 57 years .....

    Fantastic collection Fred !
    Don't believe me or anything I say just because I say it ... do your own research , ask questions and get answers , find out what you can , do background searches on the (vintage) watch you're interested in AND on the seller , only if you do all of that you will be able to determine the authenticity of the watch you're interested in

    Hidden Content

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    Re: Navitimers (and some Cossies), a journey of over 57 years .....

    Fred, I showed this post to the lads at the local Breitling Boutique.
    All you could hear was a loud thud as their jaws hit the floor
    For a good reason of course, once again, lovely watches.
    It is just a matter of time....

  7. #7
    Member AngryApe's Avatar
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    Re: Navitimers (and some Cossies), a journey of over 57 years .....

    Both the pictures and that story are incredible. Truly impressive, thanks for sharing!

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