Breitling Folgore Italian military | 817 | Steel

Regular price £13,000

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.
Brand: Breitling 
Model:
817 "Folgore" - Italian military issue
Movement: mechanical manual-winding Valjoux 236
Functions: chronograph, hours, minutes, seconds, 
Features: all original
Case: 39.5 mm stainless steel
Crystal: plexiglass
Bracelet: original Japanese expandable bracelet
Year: 1975
Box & papers: auction extract
This vintage, military Breitling 817 has an unrestored dial. The bezel and the case are lightly scratched, appropriate to the age of the watch. The watch is guaranteed for authenticity and comes with a two-year warranty from A Collected Man.

All of our pre-owned watches have undergone thorough mechanical inspections, including being ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and resealed if appropriate and tested for at least four days, to ensure they meet our highest timekeeping standards. Our pre-owned and vintage watches are covered by a full, or a limited twenty-four month warranty. For example, due to their age, some vintage watches should not be subjected to the same conditions as when they were new. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further information. 

All of our new watches are covered by the warranty from the original manufacturer. Please contact us for further information.

We offer worldwide delivery on all of our watches.

If ordering from the UK or Europe before 1 PM, your watch will be sent the same working day. The courier will depend on the value of the watch, with all watches delivered the next working day.

If ordering from outside Europe, delivery will depend on choice of courier and destination. 

You can cancel your order without giving any reason, within 14 days from the day the watch has been delivered to you.

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— Founder, A Collected Man