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Thread: Breitling Navitimer 816-72 Military markings?

  1. #1
    Member greatsw's Avatar
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    Default Breitling Navitimer 816-72 Military markings?

    rare Navitimer with Valjoux 72... any idea who these may have been issued to? input always appreciated




  2. #2

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    Your 816-72 appears to be the standard version. I'm not sure the military versions bled over into the 816-72 only the Chronomatic 816's and they all have special dials and backs depicting the military affiliation. As an aside, the checkerboarding on the back cover most likely comes from the back being repurposed after originally being struck as an 816. It was then restamped 816-72. I've seen a few of these so pretty sure it was a factory job and not a later modification. Towards the end of the original Breitling families ownership a lot of slightly strange pieces left the factory as Breitling was using what was on hand and times were hard. The 816-72 is one of my favorites though. Nice watch!

  3. #3

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    I think differently. I think it's a repurposed case with a new bezel. For that serial number, the bezel should be all black.

    I also strongly differ with the helter-skelter portrayal of the Breitling company in the 1970s before it closed in December 1978. The company was always well-ordered with standard models and quality control. I can't speak to its balance sheets, but the company closed in good order, only because Willy did not have anyone to pass on the company and there was very little interest in acquisitions of Swiss watch companies at that time. When one examines the inventory that survived in the hands of the two children, half of which was acquired by Old World Jewelers, one sees nothing but finely finished pieces as advertised in catalogs, etc. The "riot of irregularity" for later Breitlings is just nonsense.
    Bill in Sacramento

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill in Sacramento View Post
    I think differently. I think it's a repurposed case with a new bezel. For that serial number, the bezel should be all black.

    I also strongly differ with the helter-skelter portrayal of the Breitling company in the 1970s before it closed in December 1978. The company was always well-ordered with standard models and quality control. I can't speak to its balance sheets, but the company closed in good order, only because Willy did not have anyone to pass on the company and there was very little interest in acquisitions of Swiss watch companies at that time. When one examines the inventory that survived in the hands of the two children, half of which was acquired by Old World Jewelers, one sees nothing but finely finished pieces as advertised in catalogs, etc. The "riot of irregularity" for later Breitlings is just nonsense.
    The newer style bezel was a standard replacement piece so that being used doesn't really change anything. I don't discount originality due to new replacement hands either. Breitling repurposing cases has been done for years and there are many different models from the 1950's that were repurposed cases from the 1940's so you can't say it was never done by Breitling. As for well-ordered, well the reason they fitted many Navitimer's from the same period with the Valjoux 7736 instead of the Valjoux 72 was because they couldn't get enough of them hence the 806-36. In addition the later pieces that Breitling produced from the late 1970's were strange in their lack of signed crowns, serial number sequencing, reference numbers, and overall changes prompted by the quartz movement and their lack of anything substantial in the quartz field. Even the quartz 9106 used a GP movement so they were scrambling to keep up. Everyone has an opinion but until someone from that era that was there publishes something, it's all conjecture.

  5. #5

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    We are in complete agreement that you are engaging in conjecture.
    Bill in Sacramento

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    Member greatsw's Avatar
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    Default

    but is the engraved line under 816-72 a military marking? and to whom? that was my original question... looks like 11525/67 with other initials before...

    always interesting conversation around vintage Breitlings

  7. #7

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    Sorry. I'm too use to seeing that. That number is a patent number for the case/bezel arrangement. "BR" for "brevet" and the Swiss cross for a Swiss patent application. It is a very unique case with access to gearing through that rubber plug on the left side of the case.
    Last edited by Bill in Sacramento; 05-17-2017 at 14:06. Reason: adding detail
    Bill in Sacramento

  8. #8
    Junior Member flighter's Avatar
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    it is a easy thing:

    as breitling had problems to have a lot of Venus 178 movements
    to sell there watches, they used - also in other modells - for example
    the valjoux 72 - this is what we know and is written here.

    special to the 816-72 it is:

    they had the case, that they usually used for the handwound big-case
    (fried egg) GMT - Ref 812, that was not sold often (as we also see, when
    we try to find one today) and it was possible for them to buy Valjoux 72 and so
    they did.

    you can check every 816-72, you find or ever had in your hands:

    all of them you see the engraving 812, when you look near by
    under the rectangle above the serialnumber (defaced, but still visible).

    so they used the case from 812 to complete/built a 816-72

    regards

    Stephan

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