As mentioned in some of our auction highlights, which have featured Breitling’s, the company is now under new ownership and management, with ex-IWC CEO, Georges Kern at the helm. This is indeed a new era for Breitling and they’ve made no hesitations in being quick off the mark. During our Baselworld meeting a couple of years ago, it was clear to see that the task that was facing them is identity. Something they needed to get to grips with sharpish was reducing the size of the current catalogue of watches. The best way? Introduce new pieces and discontinue out dated models – something which is currently ongoing. While some of their new releases have been greeted with much scepticism, this latest addition has been greeted with applause all round!
The Breitling reference 765 AVI has an interesting, if not inspiring past. The AVI was first produced in 1953 and as you’ll perhaps notice was made with the military in mind – hence its large case diameter of 41mm, which probably is not considered large today but back in 1953, yeah this was a really big watch. At the time, Breitling had hoped to win a contract with the French army, however, the fact it didn’t feature a flyback function caused a few issues for them and so the likes of Breguet, Dodane and Vixa – who all made very similar looking watches, went on to supply the French army with their flyback choronographs.
It perhaps goes without saying that the 765 AVI is the first execution, as noted by the all-black dial that have, over the year’s, been nicknamed ‘Lucy’. The Breitling Co-Pilot 765 AVI’s have a very unmistakeable appearance but the nickname they’ve been coined could in fact be a more interesting talking point. Nicknamed Lucy after the remains of a 3.2-million-year-old partial skeleton (nicknamed Lucy) of a predecessor to the homo sapien human, the Autralopithecus afarensis. The idea behind this nickname is likely the genesis or very early nature of the first series Co-Pilot 765 AVI.
The AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition is the brand’s second historical re-edition and Breitling have faithfully recreated this legendary timepiece. This new limited edition re-edition has been created with attention to every detail of the original 1953 765 AVI design. Like its inspirational predecessor, it has an all-black dial with tone-on-tone sub dials and includes one of the signature elements of the original 765 AVI from 1953, the dial is adorned with a Breitling inscription in capital letters and just the “B” logo.
The AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition features the same Arabic numerals as the 1953 Co-Pilot as well as hand-applied Super-LumiNova; the colour of which has been carefully chosen to recall the luminescent material on the original (or as collectors have named it “faux patina”.) The watch features thin syringe hands, which exactly match those on the earliest examples, and a domed hesalite crystal that has been fashioned in precisely the same shape as the original. That said, there are only two concessions that distinguish this new timepiece from its famous ancestor: the water resistance of the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition has been improved to 3 bar (30 meters/100 feet) compared to the original version, and keen-eyed observers will also see that “GENEVE” no longer appears on the dial.
Furthermore, the stainless-steel case measures precisely 41.1mm, just a mere 0.1mm larger than its inspiration. The rotating decimal bezel is also fashioned out of stainless steel and is secured by three screws that are placed in precisely the same positions as those on the watch from 1953; another detail that would otherwise go unnoticed, but Breitling chose to include, displaying their desire to stay faithful to the original inspiration. The Breitling AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition comes fixed on a black vintage-inspired leather strap with a pin buckle.
Perhaps one of the most important details of this re-edition has to be the chronograph movement and I say this because Breitling only have automatic-winding chronographs in their armour. That said, in respect to the original manual-wound calibre that powered the early 765 AVI, the manufacture have made sure this re-edition houses a manual-wound movement. Inside the AVI 765 1953 re-edition is the Calibre B09 mechanical movement, which is based on the brand’s renowned in-house Manufacture Calibre 01 and is a COSC-certified chrono meter. And as mentioned when the Navitimer was introduced, this movement will power many of the other hand-wound historical re-editions to come; this being the second thus far.
The new Breitling 765 AVI 1953 Re-Edition in stainless-steel is priced at £6,520 and is limited to 1953 pieces worldwide. In addition, it is also available in red-gold (£16,950), which is limited to 253 pieces and platinum (£28,900), which is limited to153 pieces. For more information the new 765 AVI 1953 Re-Edition, visit the Breitling website.