Breitling Unitime ref. 2610, 1961 - a collector's tale ...
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Thread: Breitling Unitime ref. 2610, 1961 - a collector's tale ...

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  1. #1
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    Breitling Unitime ref. 2610, 1961 - a collector's tale ...

    Vintage aficionados, a story you might enjoy ?

    This seems to be the rarest of the Breitling Worldtimers - we have no production figures, but almost none come up for sale and if they do, most are in a sorry state, incorrect and/or ridiculously priced; these were expensive watches when they were launched in the very late 1950s or very early 1960s, same price levels as the Navitimer 806s, so apparently were only produced in very small quantities .

    This Unitime ref. 2610, manufactured in 1961, was actually the first Unitime I acquired, almost three years ago. Case, dial and world time dial ring were in perfect condition, it came with it's original box and the original manual - but the bezel insert was totally destroyed, rendering it almost unusable.

    First I waited and searched, hoping (childishly) a NOS insert would just pop up, then the watch traveled to several restoration gurus; Craig in the US was pessimistic (and rightly so) he would find somebody to restore the bezel, Kirk Dial had tried in the past but refused to try again - so Craig serviced it and suggested to just give up on trying to "make it whole".

    Then Germany, Spain - nobody had the die, nobody claimed to know how to restore the anodized aluminum insert. My many collector friends tried to help, some running around London; we thought about China, friends were checking in Geneva; others in France - nada.

    There were Unitime inserts from bakelite, but these were totally off - wrong fonts, wrong material, wrong look and feel; even Aldo, the milwatch uberguru from Milano, said he knew of no possibility do do it correctly in anodized aluminum.

    Years of searching, trying, waiting - here it is now with a quite correct world time bezel, surprisingly fabbed by ourselves (a small electronics manufacturer with some "handy" graphics & metalworking guys, but with absolutely ZERO watchmaking capabilities).

    We painstakingly recreated the rather unique font, fabbed the inserts from 0.3mm aluminum, found the right tool to reach the correct doming, made a dozen anodized samples, tried printing and failed - in the end succeeded quite nicely with a high resolution engraving laser. Still not totally perfect (we were afraid of "doming" the anodized and engraved inserts, so the cutting depth of the laser is not totally uniform), but quite workable.

    Do not ask how many man hours went into this, please.

    Unsure if to - very respectfully - work a little bit on the hands lume, but basically: Happy Fred.















    Last edited by WatchFred; July 5th, 2013 at 16:10.

  2. #2
    Member HOROLOGIST007's Avatar
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    Re: Breitling Unitime ref. 2610, 1961 - a collector's tale ...

    Fred
    Thats is fantastic.
    This is the only time I 100% agree to a reworked part.
    Its a great job, a great story and a GREAT piece of Horology.

    Thanks and Mazeltov
    adam
    NEVER ARGUE WITH AN IDIOT. FIRST THEY WILL DRAG YOU DOWN TO THEIR LEVEL. THEN, THEY WILL BEAT YOU WITH EXPERIENCE.

    "Failure is not an option" - Gene Kranz
    "Owning a vintage watch is great, understanding where it sits in Horology is magnificent"
    and
    "By Teaching Others, We Teach Ourselves"
    Adam

  3. #3
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Breitling Unitime ref. 2610, 1961 - a collector's tale ...

    People who don't love watches may not appreciate your efforts but I am sure many here do! Great story.

    I hope you are one of the owners of the firm... otherwise the diversion of effort... LOL
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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  5. #4
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    Re: Breitling Unitime ref. 2610, 1961 - a collector's tale ...

    thankfully yes, Eeeb; I'd fire myself immediately otherwise.
    Eeeb likes this.

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