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Just about everything you ever wanted to know about the Breitling Chronomat 1984

July 20, 2017

Vintage 1984

Chronomat Type 1 

81950 

Valjoux 7750 

& Rare "Bullet" Strap

 

 

 

Watch brands undoubtedly have their associated fields just look brands as Doxa synonymous with divers watches Omega and NASA and Rolex with their on land and sea Exploration Breitling as a brand have long been associated with Pilots Chronographs 

 

 

 

Although this watch is by no means the watch that started it all it is perhaps (and at the very least in the stylisation of modern Pilots watches)  one of the most influential "modern" watches 

 

Weather by design or pure chance exactly 100 years after the founding of breitling (BREITLING 1884) in 1984 we see the "New Founding" of perhaps one of the most iconic watch brands. 

 

 

 

In every sence the Breitling 1984 Chronomat is very much a "Prototype" watch From case design and stylisation to the appearance of prototype Breitling logo design. 

 

Tho some aspects of this watch clearly made it no further that this 11984 model The aforementioned logo a prime example we need only look at Breitlings collection right through the 80s 90s 00s and right up until the present to see the influence this watch has had on the entire range of Breitling pilot line watches.  

 

History & About

The Breitling Chronomat journey began in 1940 with the application for a Swiss government patent for a new & innovative circular slide rule to be used in conjunction with a wrist watch chronograph.

 The first Chronomats were then manufactured and sold in 1941. Later, in the 1950's, the outstanding success of the Chronomat inspired the birth of the Navitimer, a chronograph with its slide rule modelled after the E6B circular slide rule used in aviation.

 

The Chronomat went on to be produced in many forms including a version of the first-ever automatic chronograph watch in the late 1960's and even a quartz non-chronograph during the 1970's. 

 

In 1978 all watch production ceased at Breitling. The company was put up for sale and bought by Mr Ernest Schneider in 1979. From 1980 new Breitling models began to be released but it was not until 1984 that the Chronomat reappeared - as a completely different watch, now designed for pilots. "An Instrument for Professionals"  This was the forerunner of all modern Chronomats up to the present day.

 

The Chronomat has remained one of Breitling's most successful watches for over sixty years and has in recent years proved to be Breitling's biggest seller.

 

81950 - 1984 to 1990

Although the advent of electronic watches played a large part in the demise of many Swiss watch firms including the old Breitling company, by the early to mid-1980's it is becoming apparent that there is a growing market again for mechanical watches. Many owners do not want LED, LCD or quartz watches which in their eyes lack the appeal and technical attraction of watches with a traditional mechanically engineered movement. 

They prefer mechanical movements and are prepared to pay a premium for them. While continuing their strong presence in the evolution of quartz watches, Breitling also began developing innovative mechanical models one of which is an automatic pilot's watch, completely new in design in every aspect. 

The now famous "rider tab" was invented by the head of the company in 1982 and he also made the decision to use the mechanical Valjoux 7750 movement for the first time by Breitling. Both of these features are still in use today in many Breitlings 

 

 

 

 

The Case & Bezel

The most important design change made to the new watch is that the pushers and crown are made more prominent and therefore easier to use while wearing gloves in the cockpit. While it was thought that this detracts from the smooth outline of the case design it does make the watch more functional. 

Nowadays of course the Chronomat "Look" is perhaps one of the most iconic and instantly recognisable profiles in the watch industry.  And a design that has had undeniable influence on not only breitling watches but perhaps nearly all modern chronograph design.

   There is also a small redesign of the bezel and of the rider tab at 0/60 minutes. This new watch is named the Navitimer 

 

In the place of the old type 42 slide rule it has a rotating timing bezel with four projecting "rider tabs", easy to grip while wearing gloves in the cockpit. They also provide a measure of protection for the crystal. One thing often overlooked in the design of the chronomat is of course The 15 and 45 minute rider tabs can easily be changed over to create a countdown bezel if preferred.

 

The visual design of the new Chronomat is an interesting blend of ultra-modern and traditional, perhaps an early form of "post-modern" design that became so popular in architecture during the 1980's and 90's. The "onion" style of the crown and pushers harks back to the crowns of pilot's watches of the 1930's and 40's designed to be easy to grip while wearing gloves. Unusually, the case lugs are straight and it is the ends of the bracelet or strap that provide for the curve of the wearer's wrist.

 

On the case back a motif of the Aermacchi MB-339A aircraft used by the Frecce Tricolori team echoes the shape of the old 1960's B/BREITLING logo below it while reinforcing the idea that the Chronomat is indeed now a pilot's watch. 

 

 

The Dial

 The large tritium inset Silver hour indices and hands provide easy visibility at a glance. There is a 0-100 scale for the decimal minutes so useful in computations, and a tachymeter scale for various timing uses involving speed and distance. 

 

 

 

 

The aforementioned wings logo on the dial of the Chronomat is the same as that already found on early 1980's quartz Navitimers. It consists of a design derived from (but not associated with) the wings motif of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) but in the centre, instead of the initials "AOPA", is the letter "B" for Breitling. Below the wings a wavy line signifies water to show Breitling's continuing strong interest in designing and marketing watches for yachtsmen and divers. 

 

The Band 

The Watch is fitted with the orriginal 1984 breitling ""Bullet" link watch strap a unique strap with rounded almost test tube type bars. Although a design piece as iconic as the watch is today this was one such design feature that was short lived. However due to their general rarity exceedingly sought after today.

 

Additionally the watch will be supplied with a Zuccolo Rochet Company (ZRC) watch strap. In black fitted with an orriginal Stainless steel Winged B logo buckle. 

 

 ZRC are a large international and 

well respected company established over 100 years ago in Geneva

Well known in the trade as a supplier of straps to many famous watch brands

 

 

 

Special edition Breitling Chronomat for The pilots of Frecce Tricolori team "Frecce Tricolori 1984" Watch

 

A Special edition of the watch was released in 1984 with the addition of the Italian The pilots of Frecce Tricolori team were not only wearing Breitling timekeepers, they were also involved in the creation testing and design of the first modern-day Chronomat.

 

 

 

Frecce Tricolori

 

 

The Movement 

As well as being water resistant to a depth of 100 M the Navitimer Chronomat has been tested to accelerative forces of 20G, far in excess of what any pilot could endure. It is powered by the 17-jewel Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement. Although when first used by Breitling, this movement is unmodified and unadorned, it is robust and has excellent reliability and accuracy.

 

The 7750 was developed by Valjoux, a legendary movement maker that was part of the giant ASUAG conglomerate. Created in 1931, AUSAG consolidated many of the independent movement makers in Switzerland. By the early 1970s, AUSAG included several watch brands, such as Certina, Edox, Eterna, Oris and Longines. The origins of the 7750 spring from another famous name from the past, Venus, which became part of Valjoux in 1966.

 

Many of the world’s best known automatic chronograph movements were developed in the arms race of the late 1960s. Between 1969-1974, there was a golden age of innovation, with the Heuer- Breitling- Hamilton Chronomatic (1969), Seiko 6139 (1969), Zenith El Primero (1969) and Lemania 5100 (1973) all being launched.

 

Although Valjoux was the leader in manual-wind chronographs, it was slow to the self-winding party, appointing Edmond Capt to lead the development of a new movement in the early 1970s. Based on the manual-wind Valjoux 7733 (itself a descendent of the Venus 188), the 7750 was first available in watches in 1973/4, having been one of the first movements to be designed with the aid of a computer.

 

A reliable, cost-effective calibre, the 7750 is relatively thick and large compared to its contemporary competitors. There is also a sonic signature: the sound of the rotor. The 7750 is mono-directional (only winds in one direction), and so has a relatively large and heavy oscillating weight that can reach high speeds when rotating in its non-winding direction. Because it free-spins in one direction, you can sometimes feel the movement “wobbling” on your wrist. 

 

Despite a promising start (an estimated 100,000 units in its first year), the Valjoux 7750 was all but dead by 1975, when the decision was taken to stop production. The advent of low-cost quartz movements from Japan had all but destroyed demand for expensive Swiss mechanical watches. Despite stopping production in 1975, such was the drop in demand for the movement, that supply lasted until the early 1980s.

 

However, just as happened with the El Primero at Zenith, local management ignored the orders to destroy the dies and equipment used to manufacture the 7750, instead hiding the equipment away from corporate eyes.

 

The Production of the 7750 was officially restarted in 1985 

 

 

 

Valjoux 7750

 

Features

automatic chronograph, 60s, 30min, 12h, cam switched

sub second

day: quickset

date: quickset

hack feature

17 jewels

f = 28800 A/h

power reserve 46h

 

Spect as always courtesy of Dr. Ranfft 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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