Review of my BREITLING NAVITIMER 806
This is my personal review of my most looked after watch and I take my thoughts and set them down for you to judge.
Breitling Navitimer 806 was the first watch I can remember and truly believe I saw it as the world’s finest instrument.
This particular watch is exactly the same age as me and was purchase by a pilot in Swedish air force back in 1968.
He is now retired and letting the watch pass on to new ownership as his son does not like watches
About the watch
Generation 4 of the 806, with a lug size of 22mm like most modern Breitlings. It was manufactured in 1966 but sold in 1968 in Sweden to the previous owner. He had one service and crystal replacement during the time he owned it.
Movement, Venus 178, Incabloc, column wheel chronograph with carrying arm, 1/5 second, 30-minute register, hour counter. Diameter 31,3mm, 18.000 BPH, 17 jewels, and a power reserve of 38 hours.
When I first found the watch the overall impression was very rare find. On close examination
the dial was rather bad. Some tritium was starting to fall off but the case was excellent showing no scratches or dents.
Due to the fact that it was complete with box and all papers I asked for a resume of its life from the first owner to connect the provenance of the box and paper works to the watch for coming generations
(as you know sometimes you can find a box and papers on eBay sold separately)
He wrote a story for me detailing events from the time he first spotted it up to current time just before he sold the watch to me.
When I got it home I had some issue to overcome. I had to decide what to do with the watch. 1) Perform a full restoration or 2) work on the movement and restoration of the dial.
After a long research project I found that Breitling in Switzerland did have a limited supply of original parts.
More special, all the parts needed were available as original N O S spare parts direct from Breitling
This convinced me to do a full restoration. My research revealed that almost all the parts were out of stock at other repair shops.
Breitling needed one year to complete the overhaul and the result was way over my expectations
Today some will say I destroyed the patina of the dial and therefore made an error about the value.
Taking into account that all the parts are original and the restoration was made by Breitling convinced me I had made the correct choice, full restoration or nothing.
The money spent on the restoration is safe as this special watch has had its life time's extended for another 40 years and coming generation’s will have pleasure seeing this beautifully restored time piece.
As the pictures show, you can see that the watch was rather rare find from the beginning.
Note reference to model “306” instead of “806 “. This was stamped incorrectly in 1968 when it was punched by hand. In fact it looks like the ‘8’ was struck off line and left a ‘3’ instead of an ‘8’.
Note the fading of tritium on the dial and yellowed hands.
As the watch was on display in a bookshelf the UV rays and must have given the dial a hard time causing considerable fading.
The Plexiglas crystal had small cracks and was discolored. The crystal was changed once during a previous service and I received the watch in this condition.
The oil in the movement was organic and needed to be clean out and replaced with fresh oil.
One wheel in the movement had some oxididation and therefore was replaced. So was the main spring for the same reason.
Crystal, dial, slide rule, and all hands were also replaced along with the crown and pushers.
All exchanged parts were returned except for the dial and slide rule
As I was promised to get all the original parts in returned I assumed that the dial also was to be returned as well.
I found this to be a very hard thing to accept as the watch can not be restored to original condition in the future if desired.
This is the only downside in this story that still makes a big tear in my conscience for what I done to the watch.
The case was refinished to original luster making it like new in appearance as you can see.
Same watch after restoration
As I am trying to retain the whole history and save it for coming generations I submitted the watch for valuation at a big auction house named Kaplan’s.
Along with all documents, history and receipts together with box and old parts from restoration, made this very special and exclusive to me. I will always value it as a very special watch.“My dearest find”
Hope this inspires you in some positive way and always remember
“You are not the owner of a vintage 806 only the keeper for coming generations, all you do should reflect the exclusivity of that particular watch”.
Your feedback is welcome.
Reference is www.navitimer.net and Kurt B excellent reviews that’s give me the inspiration to do this whole thing
Thanks for reading, Jonas Straka
special thanks to snapIT to help me make this posible to read