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The Breitling 765 ‘AVI” was introduced in the 1950s, as a tool watch expressly designed for pilots, with this late example dating to circa 1964, based on inner-caseback number.
Pre-AVI designation, the earliest reference 765s were used by civilian aviators and military Air Forces in the late 1930s. These wristwatches were the first to be launched by the ‘Breitling EIGHT’ Military aviation division; bearing many of the classic hallmarks typically associated with military pilot’s wristwatches. The ‘Breitling EIGHT Air Force’ utilized the latest technical advancements to manufacture highly-specialised equipment, using only materials of the best quality, such as cockpit clocks, oscillographs as well as complicated wristwatches.
The reference 765 ‘AVI’ predates Breguet’s famous type ‘XX’, introduced in 1954 and issued to the ‘Armée de l’Air, Aeronavale’ and ‘C.E.V’ (Centre d’Essais en Vol – Flight Test Center). The French military used watches by Breguet, Auricoste and Vixa. The Breitling 765 ‘AVI’, produced in 1953, was seemingly the influential benchmark used throughout the design process of these later examples, emphasizing legibility, waterproofness, and enhanced reliability. Further examples of Breitling 765 ‘AVI’ variants have been found displaying case-backs stamped by the Aeronautica Militare; AM – Italian Air Force. Whilst these examples are unconfirmed to be of direct military issuance, Breitling is known to have produced military watches for The Paracadutisti R.A.O “Folgore” (Italian Special Forces, 185th Lightning Paratrooper Division) some years later.
This Breitling 765 'AVI', with serial number (989,XXX) has a round, stainless steel case with large chronograph pushers and an original Breitling, fluted crown. The case measures 41 mm in diameter and has thick straight-line lugs with sharp bevels, retaining exceptional definition. Like all original examples, the screw-down case-back features sharply preserved engraving; “AVI 765”, along with ‘WATERPROOF- SHOCK PROTECTED – ANTIMAGNETIC – STAINLESS-STEEL’ and the manufacturer's signature.
While the Breitling 765 ‘AVI’ was produced with a range of dial configurations, the “reverse panda” was officially adopted by Breitling between 1962 and ’64, and produced until late 1964, when the reference received a significant update; removing all references to the ‘AVI’ designation from its catalogues and official literature, and replacing it with the acronym CP (Co-Pilot).
The case features a, bi-directional, rotating bezel with twelve-hour graduation and a tritium, inlaid 12 o'clock marker. It's in excellent, overall condition. Similarly, the matte black dial is very well preserved, has white minute markers and luminous index markers for the hours. The tritium lume on the stick handset and index hour markers has aged to a deepening yellow, complementing the patina on the sub-registers.
It features a white Breitling logo, while 'Breitling Geneve' is referenced on the dial at twelve o'clock. A 'SWISS' marking is visible at six o'clock below the twelve-hour sub-register.
The chronograph, minute and hour hands are white, giving the dial a nice monochromatic look. The sub-registers at three, six and nine o'clock are the fifteen-minute, twelve-hour and the sub-second dials, respectively, featuring a single Arabic numeral at the twelve o’clock position. The minute-recording sub-register features unique lume-dashes, marking every three minutes, as well as a luminescent ‘arrow’ hand to ensure optimal legibility.
The watch carries a manual-winding Venus calibre 178, considered by many as one of the most famous column wheel operated chronograph calibres of all time. The movement features 17 jewels and a modified 15-minute subsidiary-register at the 3 o’clock position, beating at 18,000 A/h, with a power reserve of 45-hours. This 'standard' column wheel movement for Breitling Chronographs has a twist; instead of the usual thirty-minute subsidiary at three o'clock, this modified movement has a fifteen-minute counter. This was designed to offer greater precision for pilots, as the duration of the counter is that of a plane's pre-flight check required to clear for takeoff.
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We stand by the quality of all of our pre-owned watches and mechanical objects. If something goes wrong, we’ll always strive to remedy the situation in a timely manner and to the best of our ability. The satisfaction and trust of our clients is of the highest importance, to everyone at A Collected Man.
All of our pre-owned watches have undergone thorough, non-invasive mechanical inspections and have been serviced, if appropriate, to ensure that they meet our highest standards of timekeeping and functionality.
Our pre-owned watches, unless stated otherwise, are covered by either a full or a limited twenty-four month warranty. This excludes any damage sustained due to improper use or accident. Due to their age, some pre-owned watches should not be subjected to the same conditions as when new.
Any of our pre-owned watches which have been serviced by their respective manufacturer, will carry the manufacturer’s servicing guarantee. This is separate and supersedes, the standard warranty offered by A Collected Man. Please see our Terms & Conditions for further information. You can write to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, for further clarification.
A Collected Man is also an authorised retailer for a number of watchmaking brands. These watches are covered by the warranty from the original manufacturer.
We offer complimentary worldwide delivery on our watches. If ordering from overseas, delivery will depend on the value of the timepiece and the destination. All import taxes and duties are the responsibility of the buyer.
If ordering from the UK 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.
Please note that pre-owned goods (in the United Kingdom) are subject to a marginal rate of VAT, which can not be reclaimed. For further information, please seehere.