Breitling Top Time Chronograph

Breitling Top Time Chronograph

Rolex: Submariner, as Breitling: Navitimer, as Omega: Speedmaster. This SAT-style analogy may describe the best-known models from the three brands, but as you know, there’s so much more to Rolex than just the Sub, just like there are so many great Omegas out there besides the Speedy Pro. Now let’s talk about vintage Breitling.

Breitling was founded in 1892, and while still around today, the company is no longer in the hands of the Breitling family. 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 Breitling company was liquidated, and parts, toolings and naming rights were sold off. One of the best aviation watch companies was no more, but they left behind a large range of incredible watches.

When it comes to collecting vintage chronographs, Breitling can be a polarizing brand. Generally known for their Navitimer aviation computer watches, many find their dial designs hectic and difficult to read for daily wear (hell, we don't know how to use a Navitimer's slide rule any more than you do). While those pieces are indisputably cool, they are indeed a lot to take in, and as a result Breitling doesn't always get the same appreciation as some of their contemporary counterparts. We'd like to change that.

Breitling's Top Time line was created in the 1960's as a simpler line of chronographs for more basic tasks then timing an orbital burn (you know, like driving a car in circles or making dinner). The Top Time came in a variety of case, dial and movement configurations, but they all had a clean and classic vintage chronograph style that is reminiscent of a Heuer Carrera or Rolex Daytona while maintaining it’s own identity.

The Top Time was even seen on the wrist of everyone's favorite Bond, Mr. Sean Connery himself, when Q presented him a Reference 2002 equipped with a Geiger counter to use in place of his usual Rolex Submariner in Thunderball.

This example is a particularly early reference 2002-33 from the late 1960's. With a comfortable 36mm case, desirable Panda dial, and Valjoux 7733 manual-winding movement the Top Time checks all of our boxes for a proper vintage chrono, and it’s only a matter of time before people catch on and they become as popular as their Heuer and Omega contemporaries.


Stainless steel one-piece tonneau case is approx. 36mm (excluding crown). Valjoux 7733 manual wind chronograph movement. Circa 1969.

Overall Condition: Case is in excellent condition over all, with light, even wear consistent with its age and no signs of over polishing. Panda dial is in excellent condition with crisp printing as is the handset. Breitling signed crown.

Includes one 18mm Rally strap and two 18mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle.

SKU: TT01098.

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