Restoring Breitling from 1916
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Thread: Restoring Breitling from 1916

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  1. #1
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    Restoring Breitling from 1916

    Hi guys,

    I've just got this watch from my uncle. We thought it belonged to his great grand father. From what I have seen on the internet, this is a Breitling from 1916...Its not working at the moment so i'm thinking of taking it to Breitling service, here in Madrid. I have very little to no idea of vintage watches and reparation cost. What would you guys recommend?

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    Thx!
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  2. #2
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    Re: Restoring Breitling from 1916

    If you have an almost unlimited budget, restore it.

  3. #3
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    Re: Restoring Breitling from 1916

    Thats not my case unfortunately...Sell it then?

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  5. #4
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    Re: Restoring Breitling from 1916

    I think this may be one of those early monopusher Valjoux 22 movements, but the chrono bridge almost looks cracked. Why do you think there is a Breitling connection? I don't see any Breitling branding anywhere, or maybe I'm just missing it.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

  6. #5
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    Re: Restoring Breitling from 1916

    I'm not an expert so Dan you could be perfectly right...I thought about the breitling connection because its exactly to the 1916 model and its from solid gold.

  7. #6
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    Re: Restoring Breitling from 1916

    A good picture of the markings on the caseback might help in the identification. It does look like the 1916 watch, but watches can be similar to each other.

    Servicing it in Breitling service center (if it is a Breitling) would cost a fortune.
    If it's worth repairing - it's hard to say without examining the watch.

    It appears to be complete, so it might be in reasonable condition (also, I'd say this 'crack' on the bridge is merely a deep scratch - more usual find than a crack - but who knows?), and the repair cost will depend on what's damaged.

    If it only takes to clean and oil it (plus replacing the ridiculous hour hand) - the cost should not be extreme.
    If there are broken parts - way, way higher.

    I'd suggest taking it to a reputable watchmaker who will tell you what's wrong with it (and how wrong it is)...
    Chascomm likes this.
    Have a great day!!!

  8. #7
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    Re: Restoring Breitling from 1916

    It's worth remembering that brands change their identity over time and our understanding of Breitling as a brand relates to the modern version, made famous by slick dudes and dudettes in marketing departments. Back in the day, Breitling – like so many others (Rolex comes to mind…) were a bit more "ordinary" and often branded items rather than actually manufactured them (huge generalisation for expediency). So to a degree, this watch should be thought of in terms of a more generic piece, which may or may not have been a Breitling. Point is, don't get too hung up on that idea, sort out the watch and establish paternity when you have the time. It's not the most important thing, especially as the bridge on yours is not engraved.

    I have no reason to doubt Dan's speculation about the movement. Even if not, this ought to be able to be serviced by a good classic watchmaker. Don't waste a second of your time or money on a "factory" service. It will be super expensive and, in this case, of little or no advantage. It's a very old piece and Breitling would not have any parts or direct expertise to bear on it, even if it were a Breitling. Cost? Here in the UK, I'd expect to pay a competent watchmaker in the region of £200/€250 to overhaul it. To restore the chipped damage to the enamel dial, you'd need to send it to a company who do enamel dial restoration (as opposed to companies who print "modern" dials, not the same process at all); once again, there are companies in the UK who restore enamel dials and this is not terribly expensive.

    My own advice would be to find a good old fashioned watchmaker and deal with them directly. If you were in the UK, I could suggest a couple to you, but you may have to hunt around your own area. The only two companies I know of in Spain are in the super expensive class, and for that reason, I'd suggest you look around a bit. There is a watchmaker resource sticky at the top of this forum.
    Last edited by Habitant; 2 Hours Ago at 08:59.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Restoring Breitling from 1916

    Quote Originally Posted by Habitant View Post
    It's worth remembering that brands change their identity over time and our understanding of Breitling as a brand relates to the modern version, made famous by slick dudes and dudettes in marketing departments. Back in the day, Breitling – like so many others (Rolex comes to mind…) were a bit more "ordinary" and branded items rather than actually manufactured them (huge generalisation for expediency). So to a degree, this watch should be thought of in terms of a more generic piece, which may or may not have been a Breitling. Point is, don't get too hung up on that idea, sort out the watch and establish paternity when you have the time. It's not the most important thing, especially as the bridge on yours is not engraved.

    I have no reason to doubt Dan's speculation about the movement. Even if not, this ought to be able to be serviced by a good classic watchmaker. Don't waste a second of your time or money on a "factory" service. It will be super expensive and, in this case, of little or no advantage. It's a very old piece and Breitling would not have any parts or direct expertise to bear on it, even if it were a Breitling. Cost? Here in the UK, I'd expect to pay a competent watchmaker in the region of £200/€250 to overhaul it. To restore the chipped damage to the enamel dial, you'd need to send it to a company who do enamel dial restoration (as opposed to companies who print "modern" dials, not the same process at all); once again, there are companies in the UK who restore enamel dials and this is not terribly expensive.

    My own advice would be to find a good old fashioned watchmaker and deal with them directly. If you were in the UK, I could suggest a couple to you, but you may have to hunt around your own area. The only two companies I know of in Spain are in the super expensive class, and for that reason, I'd suggest you look around a bit. There is a watchmaker resource sticky at the top of this forum.
    Thank you very much! I will certainly look for some decent watchmakers here in madrid.

    Cheers

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