Folgore Italian military | 817 | Steel
The Breitling 817 was introduced in 1975, as a tool watch expressly designed for military use. Commissioned by the Italian Army, the watches were given to helicopter pilots, bearing many of the classic hallmarks typically associated with military pilot’s wristwatches.
Each piece was designed to meet the Italian Military’s “Cronometro da Polso” or “CP-1” requirements and unlike numerous military examples, were never commercially available to civilians.
Only 500 of the references were made, with only a handful recorded amongst collectors, making this arguably one of the rarest collection of military wristwatches ever produced.
This particular example represents a very limited number of pieces issued to the ‘185 Regimento Paracadutisti R.A.O’ “Folgore” (185th Lightning Paratrooper Division) and was one of 40 pieces recently auctioned by express permission of the Italian Ministry of Defense; this being number (18) of what is colloquially now being referred to as the “Folgore Forty”.
The Paracadutisti R.A.O “Folgore” form a division within the Italian Special Forces; “Folgore” meaning “Lightning” and “La Folgore” “The Thunderbolt”, inspiring vivid imagery of paratroopers’ reeking destruction from above.
This Breitling 817, with serial number (EI 0229) has a round, stainless steel case with large chronograph pushers and an original unsigned, fluted crown. The case measures 39.5 mm in diameter (as per CP-1 specification) and has thick straight-line lugs with sharp bevels, retaining exceptional definition. Like all original examples, the screw-down case-back features rarely preserved military engraving; “E.I” (Esercito Italiano) translates to “Italian Army”, along with its military stock number.
The case features a black aluminium, PVD coated bi-directional rotating bezel with a sixty-minute graduation.
Inside the watch, it houses a hand-wound Valjoux calibre 236 movement (signed “Breitling”), beating at a rate of 21,600 A/h. Born of a famous column-wheel chronograph family, the Valjoux 236 is derived from the 17 jewel, two-register base calibre Valjoux 23, boasting an increased beat frequency.
It comes fitted with its original, Japanese-made expanding bracelet. It is in remarkably good condition considering its issued status, with signs of wear to the case, bezel and plexi. The watch is currently being serviced and will ready for dispatch in approximately two weeks.Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.
817 "Folgore" - Italian military issue
|Movement:||mechanical manual-winding Valjoux 236|
|Functions:||chronograph, hours, minutes, seconds,|
|Case:||39.5 mm stainless steel|
|Bracelet:||original Japanese expandable bracelet|
|Box & papers:||auction extract|
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