Breitling Top Time - info sought

Thread: Breitling Top Time - info sought

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  1. #1
    Member zambo's Avatar
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    Breitling Top Time - info sought

    I have also written this up a TZ so apologies to anyone that reads it twice ...

    I am looking at a Top Time in a vintage watch shop. It has the 45 min subdial at 3 and the seconds subdial at 9. The second hand/stopwatch operates as it should in that it requires a good push to the upper push button to start and similarly to stop, with reset done by pushing the lower subsidiary pusher to the crown.

    It has a charcoal dial and silvery subdials.

    My question - because I know nothing of Breitling vintage - is, is this a collectable watch? Also, though I have only been able to do a little research, were they all manual wind?

    I wish I has some pics to offer to the forum, but as a collector of vintage IWC and Omega I feel comfortable judging the cosmetics, which are very good. I have no knowledge though of a) whether these watches are often faked, b) are the movements robust and reasonably accurate in normal condition, etc.

    The reputation of the store is fairly good and they attest they have had the piece given a full overhaul. Judging by the nice patina left on the polished case, it seems to have been treated with respect. I really like the style of it - especially in the colour scheme of the dial and it is a little more minimal than more modern Breitlings, which is appealing to me.

    Any info and background on this model gratefully received.

    Thanks

    Richard
    Last edited by zambo; December 22nd, 2006 at 11:21.

  2. #2
    Member bradders's Avatar
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    Re: Breitling Top Time - info sought

    Hi Zambo,

    I am sure other on this forum will have more detailed information than me but here goes my two pence worth ....

    I have four Top Times (the oldest is from 1964 and the youngest is from 1971. I was wearing one recently when I visited a my friendly local watch repair (getting a glass for an 806 Navitimer) and he described it as the last of the affordable collectors Breitlings - and I guess he is probabbly right.

    They were conceived in the early sixties "period" as "cheaper" entry level range of Breitling chronographs - to sit along side the Navitimers/Chronomats etc.

    The attached a dealers breifing from the early 60's that mention this new range and seems to be from the late 50's (by the look of the old Alfa cars) and recently someone reported in print they bought theirs new in 1960 (Paul Easter in Octane Magazine Jan 2007).

    I am sure someone on this forum can be more accurate re actual period.

    https://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=40582

    Famoulsy Bond wore one in Thunderball - the only time Brietlings featured (the leading lady's brother also wore a Navitimer that was recovered with his dog tags after he was murdered by the villian).

    They are numerous on ebay and I guess Breitling made a lot of them over the 10 odd years in production. I am currently on the look out for a 18k gold model with a white dial (which interestingly had a solid back). I understand some SS models also had a solid back design - but I have yet to see one.

    Gold plated and SS models seem generally seem to sell around £300- £400 on ebay (those priced higher than this just don't sell) with the steel versions being worth slightly more and round dial versions seem worth slightly more than square cased models.

    I wear mine more often than I used to - mainly because the 3 Navitimers I have and the 2 Chronomats have risen sharply in value over the last 12 months and generally I feel safer wearing the TT's every day than i do the others(I live in Central London).

    My assertion would be that they will continue to creep up in value on the back of Navs and Chrono's and make a good entry level watch for a new collector. Assuming Brietling's in particular and watch collecting in general remains popular - which I believe it will.

    They are also (generally not always) of good simple design and have quality movements - including Venus and Valjoux, these are all manual movements.

    Brad
    Last edited by bradders; December 22nd, 2006 at 15:47. Reason: correction to grammer (as always)

  3. #3
    Member zambo's Avatar
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    Re: Breitling Top Time - info sought

    Thank you Brad - great response. Can I date the watch/verify it's authenticity based upon any numbering system? I am going to recover some more info from the retailer today - I seem to recall having read something in the last 24 hours that they watches are identified on the outside of the caseback - is this correct?

    Regards

    Richard

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  5. #4
    Member zambo's Avatar
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    Some serial number info ...

    Sales assistant found the numbers on the back of the case as follows:

    1180595

    2011

    Does this yield anymore insight into this particular watch?

    Thanks

    Richard

  6. #5
    Breitling Forum Moderator SnapIT's Avatar
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    Re: Some serial number info ...

    Hi,

    .... 2011 is the model number and 1180595 is the serial number.
    I don't have a list of serial numbers to hand so I can't give you the year of production. Anyone with the list to hand?

    Further...

    I found that list and the serial number indicates 1967 as the year of production.
    Last edited by SnapIT; December 23rd, 2006 at 07:27.
    Cheers,
    SnapIT

    Seize the day, it ain't coming around again. . . .
    Click to check for the correct time around the world..

  7. #6
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    Re: Breitling Top Time - info sought

    The Top Time came in so many flavours...

    A ref. 2011 from 1967 could look similar to this




    Please allow me to add two of my Top Time favourites.

    A ref. 810-24 (Venus 178)



    and a ref. 7656 (Valjoux 7736)



    Best regards,

    Thomas

  8. #7
    Breitling Forum Moderator SnapIT's Avatar
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    Re: Breitling Top Time - info sought

    Too right Thomas top time had many variations on the theme and these two are extra fine examples.
    Cheers,
    SnapIT

    Seize the day, it ain't coming around again. . . .
    Click to check for the correct time around the world..

  9. #8
    Member zambo's Avatar
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    That's the one Thomas!

    The Top Time pictured at the top (two register) is the identical unit - colour scheme, case shape, steel baton hour markers, etc.

    What movement would it have had in it? And are they a robust unit that is good for daily use?

    I have a selection of nice late 60's - mid 70's watches but nothing square and nothing as "tooly" as a Breitling. This one appeals because it has just the two sub dials which is the right balance for me. And as soon as I put it on, it felt very nice on my wrist as well as being a more conservative size than many modern chrono's.

    I understand these are an intro level vintage Breitling for collecting but this one is in very good cosmetic condition, has been overhauled and they are asking about $600 Euro equivalent so I am assuming that it may be in the ballpark (sorry to talk price - just referencing it is all).

    Thanks to all for all the information (and images Thomas).

    Cheers

    Richard

  10. #9
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    Re: That's the one Thomas!

    Quote Originally Posted by zambo View Post
    The Top Time pictured at the top (two register) is the identical unit - colour scheme, case shape, steel baton hour markers, etc.

    What movement would it have had in it? And are they a robust unit that is good for daily use?
    Hi Richard,

    Because of the ref. 2011's 45 min subdial the movement should be a
    Valjoux 7730 or 7733. Both are solid and reliable workhorses.

    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-...k&Valjoux_7730&

    http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-...k&Valjoux_7733

    Best regards,

    Thomas

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