Breitling Italian Army Issued Chronograph

Regular price
$15,550
Regular price
Sale price
$15,550
REF 817
Manual-winding
39.5 MM
– Show less
SKU AS08620
Article Number 40940071
ref 817
case size 39.5 MM
movement Manual-winding
approximate age 1970s
dial color Black
material Stainless Steel
style Military
category Vintage
bracelet Metal
lug width 20 MM
Includes Maurman 'flex' elasticized stainless steel bracelet.
overall condition The case is in outstanding condition overall showing only faint signs of wear from gentle use. Matte black Tritium dial with stylized 'Arabic' indices and white outer minute track is in equally outstanding condition with even patination to luminous elements and matching white painted 'sword' handset. Unsigned crown. Caseback engraved "EI 0264." Bezel shows minimal wear.
REF 817
Manual-winding
39.5 MM
– Show less
SKU AS08620
Article Number 40940071
ref 817
case size 39.5 MM
movement Manual-winding
approximate age 1970s
dial color Black
material Stainless Steel
style Military
category Vintage
bracelet Metal
lug width 20 MM
Includes Maurman 'flex' elasticized stainless steel bracelet.
overall condition The case is in outstanding condition overall showing only faint signs of wear from gentle use. Matte black Tritium dial with stylized 'Arabic' indices and white outer minute track is in equally outstanding condition with even patination to luminous elements and matching white painted 'sword' handset. Unsigned crown. Caseback engraved "EI 0264." Bezel shows minimal wear.

Why We Love it

Military watches, with their stark, function-first dials, sturdy cases, and reliable movements, are meant to be tough. But there are certain examples of military watches that are also undeniably beautiful. The Breitling Reference 817 is one of the latter.

Manufactured in circa 1975 for the helicopter pilots of the Italian army, the Ref. 817 is an elusive tool watch, with a total production run thought to number between 500 and 1,000 examples. Highly legible, purpose-built, special, and indeed beautiful, it’s become a military watch classic, beloved by collectors the world over.

This particular example is housed in a 39.5mm stainless steel screw-back case with pump pushers, an oversized crown, and a bidirectional rotating black aluminum timing bezel. It features a matte black Tritium dial with ‘Bund’-style Arabic indices, a matching ‘sword’ handset, an outer minute track with 5-minute scale, and a dual-register chronograph layout. 

Powered by the Valjoux Calibre 236 hand-cranking movement, this piece comes fitted to a  correct, Japanese-made, elasticized stainless steel bracelet.

Fantastic.

Despite the auctioning of 40 more examples of this watch by the Italian government in 2016, the 817 remains extremely rare. One in this condition won’t last long, so if it catches your eye — you know what to do!

Brand Story

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Breitling, one of the most illustrious names in the annals of the “tool watch,” was founded by Léon Breitling in 1892. And though the firm is no longer operated by its namesake family, it still produces some of the world’s best pilot’s watches, many of which now feature in-house movements.

The company first started manufacturing wrist chronographs as early as the 1930s. In 1936 they became an official supplier to military forces of the United Kingdom and Canada. While perhaps best known for the Navitimer and Chronomat lines — which were used heavily by pilots of many nations — Breitling also produced scores of other chronograph models that merit consideration, such as the more affordable Top Time and Premier. Dive watches, such as the Super Ocean, are also part of the company’s offerings.

The late 1970s was a turbulent time for the Swiss watch industry, and many storied houses were swept away by the Quartz Crisis. By 1978, Breitling was in trouble due to the illness of its leader, Willy Breitling, and the steep decline in sales that had cut through the entire industry. Unable to keep operations going, the company was liquidated, and parts, toolings and naming rights were sold off.
Between 1979 and 2017, Breitling continued under the ownership of the Schneider family. In 2017 an 80% stake in the firm was sold to a British private equity firm, with the remaining 20% sold in 2018. In 2019, the company released the caliber B01, an in-house, automatic chronograph movement that’s since found its way into the Chronomat and Navitimer collections, bringing the tale of this famed manufacturer full circle.

A:S Guarantee

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Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

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All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

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Breitling Italian Army Issued Chronograph

Breitling Italian Army Issued Chronograph

Regular price
$15,550
Regular price
Sale price
$15,550
Breitling Italian Army Issued Chronograph

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