Established in 1884 as a neighbor of Longines in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, Breitling focused—from its small shop roots—on chronographs, sport use watches, and scientific timing instruments. Swelling beyond that initial shop, in 1892, the firm left Longines behind by moving to a larger facility in the hottest Swiss watchmaking town, La Chaux-de-Fonds. There Breitling joined a new set of neighbors including Girard-Perregaux and Jacquet Droz. In 1914, the brand’s founder, Léon Breitling passed away with his son, Gaston, taking over operations. Under the guidance of Gaston, Breitling introduced their first wristwatch chronograph in 1915 and cemented its place in the universe of Swiss watchmaking as a chronograph specialist—a focus it would champion for the next 60 years and beyond.
Gaston Breitling sadly passed away unexpectedly in 1927, leaving his 14-year-old son, Willy, as the brand’s only successor. Gaston’s son took a few years to literally grow up before taking hold of the Breitling wheel in 1932. Proved to be an outstanding sherpa, Willy Breitling filed a patent for the world’s first two-button wristwatch chronograph, created the first black dial and heavily lumed aviator chronograph, and, in the early 1940s, introduced the Chronomat, Premier, Duograph, and Datora product lines. Willy really should be regarded right there alongside Jack Heuer as Swiss watch innovators because he did not stop there. Breitling’s Navitimer, Super Ocean, Co-Pilot, Top Time, and Chronomatic all were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s while Willy was at the helm.
Breitling introduced the Navitimer Chronograph A23322 in 2003 as a continuation of their fabled Navitimer line of watches first introduced in 1952. When it was first introduced it was designed as a purpose-built aviation instrument with its slide rule bezel being a powerful tool for doing logarithmic calculations mid-flight. As technology has advanced the need to do these types of calculations by hand has gone by the wayside, but the classic good looks and heritage of the watch have remained to the modern variants. When looking at examples of A23322’s there is one major consideration. From 2003 to 2009, the Navitimer was fitted with the Valjoux 7753 movement. After 2009 the watches were fitted with an in-house caliber. Both movements have proven to be very reliable and prices are very similar, which makes the only real difference the quick set date feature of the in-house movement. This particular example was made in the second week of October 2007 (4107 date code) and thus features the Valjoux movement.
The Case and Bracelet
The 42mm stainless steel case is in very good condition. There are superficial scratches throughout the case and bracelet with the clasp of the bracelet seeing the heaviest amount of wear. Being that the case features a high polish finish throughout a competent jeweler could easily give the watch a light polish and remove the majority of the scratches. The watch features all of its original components and comes with all of its original bracelet links.
The Dial and Hands
The black and white dial directly references the early Navitimer models and we are glad that it does. The dials, though complicated, were beautiful back then and they still are today. The dial itself is in excellent condition and all of the components are thought to be original.
This watch features an automatic Valjoux 7753 movement. The watch is running and the chronograph functions as expected. The service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Automatic Valjoux 7753|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Stainless Steel|