The Breitling Top Time was created by the brand to generate interest among young men for the Breitling brand. This meant a couple of things. One, it wasn’t built with a specific tool purpose in mind like the company’s other chronograph offerings, the Navitimer and Chronomat. And two, the watch was priced much lower than those other chronograph offerings. What Breitling knew though was that if they were going to market the watch to a younger generation, they had to nail the design and boy did they. It also didn’t hurt that in 1965, one year after the release of the first top time, Sean Connery wore a modified Top Time as the legendary James Bond in the movie “Thunderball”. This would be only one of two watches that Sean Connery would ever wear as James Bond, the other being a Rolex Submariner.
The Breitling Top Time reference 184 was produced between 1967 and 1970 in three variants. The first two variants featured the black dial, as seen here, with either white or orange hour and minute hands, and the third variant featured a white dial with orange hour and minute hands. Although this watch was part of the Top Time model line and was listed as such in the Breitling catalogs of the day, the dial is devoid of the Top Time name on the dial which would have crowded an otherwise already complicated dial layout. The combination of a 38.5mm case, great dial color and layout, and the notable Venus 178 column wheel movement that collectors love, makes this watch a winner on multiple levels.
For additional information on this reference check out Michael Stockton’s write up on Fratello.
The 38.5mm stainless steel case is in very good condition. The correct brushed finishing is seen on the top of the case as well as the polished finish on the case sides and lugs. The case has some minor scratches throughout as well as some small dings. The signed crown and standard pushers are correct for the watch and in excellent condition.
The Dial and Hands
The dial and hands are in great condition with no major flaws to note. The tritium lume has darkened considerably but is very even across the dial which is a good indication of originality. The handset is correct and thought to be original.
This watch features a hand wound Venus 178 column wheel movement. The watch is running with all chronograph operations functioning as expected. The service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Manual, Venus 178|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|