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 01XX) 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 good 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, with signs of wear to the case, bezel and plexi.
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.