Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

Thread: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

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  1. #1
    Member Maniacfive's Avatar
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    Question Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    Hi,

    Having stuck a new battery in his 'vintage' 1990's Seiko digital and proudly returning it to him, my dad mentions a couple of his other watches, specifically the 'gold' watch he got for his 21st, which places it in 1968. Turns out to be a really battered Breitling Top Time. The watch still runs, despite sitting in a drawer for many years.

    The strap is obviously not original, and Dad's pretty sure the crystal was replaced due to damage at some point. (Which would explain why the minute hand from the sub dial is missing.)

    My questions are thus.

    • Can anyone point me in the direction of some history of this watch so I can tell him?
    • Is this hand wind or automatic?
    • I know now to not show it water due to the seals being old, but at purchase, how waterproof was waterproof? I've read on these forums that the aviation Breitlings were not waterproof at all.
    • Is the replacement crystal 'of type' that would've been fitted originally?
    • If its possible at all, how crippling expensive will it be to replace that missing hand?
    • Should we be running the watch at all given that in 40+ years its possibly never been serviced.


    I've added some phone taken pictures below, markings on the face say Breitling Geneve Top Time and swiss made, case back says 2000 under the Breitling name, and 'Stainless Steel back, Swiss made, Waterproof, Antimagnetic, Shock protected.

    Thanks for the help guys, hope you don't mind me asking so many questions.

    Cheers, an out of his depth Seiko wearer.
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    "I'm anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation."


  2. #2
    Member CaptRimmer's Avatar
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    Re: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    I'm sure Fred will return with the answer interfrasticly.
    Cheers,
    Andy

  3. #3
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    Re: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    Congrats on the find! Always wonderful to find some history tucked away!

    It's a Top Time 2000, and the dial looks in good condition.

    I'll try to answer a few of your questions, but I'm by no means an expert!



    • Can anyone point me in the direction of some history of this watch so I can tell him?
      I'm sure Fred or someone else will pipe in with more info soon, but for now here is the 1969 catalog http://www.breitlingsource.com/books_1969.shtml
    • Is this hand wind or automatic?
      Hand wound (Valjoux 7733 I believe)
    • I know now to not show it water due to the seals being old, but at purchase, how waterproof was waterproof? I've read on these forums that the aviation Breitlings were not waterproof at all.
      splash proof :)
    • Is the replacement crystal 'of type' that would've been fitted originally?
      Have to pass on this one sorry
    • If its possible at all, how crippling expensive will it be to replace that missing hand?
      A service from a reputable vintage watchmaker will have it gleaming once again I'm sure You should PM WatchFred for some advice on watchmakers to use for a vintage Breitling, and he should be able to give you an estimate of the cost involved.
    • Should we be running the watch at all given that in 40+ years its possibly never been serviced.
      Most definitely not. The oils will be well and truly degraded, and running it will cause more damage. Have it serviced then wear it with pride


    Hopefully it can be resurrected as a family heirloom. If it ends up being too pricey, I'm sure someone on here will give it a loving home.
    Last edited by Doc J; May 7th, 2013 at 16:25.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    Sorry for being a bit slow today, but Doc J has already given you excellent information, just little for me to add.

    "TopTime history"
    Breitling launched the TopTime line in 1964, addressing a younger audience and quite massively targeting women !

    "Movement"
    Your ref. 2000 is from generation 1, so it bears the serial number inside the caseback, which makes it impossible to exactly date it and tell you which movement is inside, though all are manual winds. Early pieces until the end of 1966 had Venus cal. 188, renamed to Valjoux 7730 after Venus was shut down and the technology moved to Valjoux, 1967 and later it would be the Valjoux 7733, a newer version of the same base movement with some adaptations and a different bridge form; generation 2 had different dials and hands too (and an external serial no.)

    "water"
    these were "waterproof", so theoretically ok to wash your hands with them or walk in light rain - not anymore, please ?

    "crystal"
    seems ok, but crystals are readily available

    "replacement hands"
    not cripplingly expensive, but might take some time to find a decent replacement, your watchmaker will help you.

    "running it"
    please do not, find a decent watchmaker and have it serviced; the oils will have run dry years ago, running it for extensive periods of time will damage the movement and that might be "cripplingly expensive" to repair or replace.




  6. #5
    Member Maniacfive's Avatar
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    Re: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    Doc, Fred, thank you for the great responses guys. I really appreciate it. I'd been able to find out a little about the Top Time, but nothing that specific. The movement info was particularly helpful. Interesting to know that this was a gen 1. And that brochure was an eye opener for so many reasons.

    Not wanting to damage the watch I shall be looking for a local watchmaker to service ASAP, as I'd like to get it back to state where Dad (and, me ;) ) can wear it again. That leads me to ask another question, I know it's not an easy thing to give a figure for, but what would be a rough estimate for a service from a reputable watchmaker? Being a little out of my depth here, I'd neither want to over pay or hand over a perfectly serviceable watch to someone who may under perform.

    Thanks again.
    "I'm anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation."


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    Re: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    I'm not sure who Fred would recommend in the UK, but I know most of the vintage guys on the forum now are using chronodeco over in the US (chronodeco - Repair and Restoration). Certainly when I end up getting some Top Times thats where they'll be heading! (I'd be sending them from Australia, and I know Fred sends all of his from Austria to the US) For a great example of Craig's work, check out the before and after photos here: The Breitling Watch Source Forums • View topic - 810 Arrived

    As for costs, not sure. I'd PM Fred and he should be able to give you a better idea, or even contact Craig at chronodeco directly with some photos.

  8. #7
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    Re: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    Woah that's a helluva nice fix up job. Thank you, I think I shall make my enquiries with him.
    "I'm anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation."


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    Re: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    excellent idea to contact Craig; outstanding quality, fair pricing, nice guy.

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    Re: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    I have just this second finished emailing him. Thanks again so much for the friendly advice and the information. I shall now return to lurking in the Seiko forums ;) Though i'll be sure to update this thread if and when the Top Time is fit for wrist time again.
    "I'm anispeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulation."


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    Re: Help IDing dad's battered 60's Top Time.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maniacfive View Post
    i'll be sure to update this thread if and when the Top Time is fit for wrist time again.
    lookign forward to it!

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