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 Breitling 817, with serial number (EI 0477) 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 also comes with its rare, original issue box.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.