Hands on With the vintage Breitling ref 765 AVI ‘Raquel Welch’ Chronograph, the watch dates to the era early 1960’s. Brietling made some lovely pieces and the 765 was made from 1953 to 1978 and now are well on the collectors to buy list which are going crazy for. In 1953 Breitling was hoping to win the contract with french army but as the watch had no flyback function other watch brands stepped in instead.
This one dates to 1962/3 and nick named “Raquel Welch” as she wore one in the movie “Fathom” and comes with the “reverse panda dial” as round that time they changed from all black to “reverse Panda dial” as they was plenty in 1962 with the all black dial. The actual term “Panda dial” means a white dial with black sub dials, hence this one is known as “reverse Panda dial” black dial with white sub dials.
The watch was large for that time at 41mm and has stood test of time well has aged a lovely patina on the tritium markers on a matt dial. The hands are pretty big with a large hour hand with stainless steel bezel. The distinctive feature on these Breitling’s is the 15 minute sub dial as most chronographs to date have a 30 minute counter. The movement is a Legendary Venus 178 chronograph movement modified to accommodate the 15 minute counter. The reason Breitling had a 15 minter counter was their aviation roots knew it took 15 minutes for the pre-flight checks and also explains the unique tritium lume dash inside the sub registers to mark every 3 minutes.
The watches where anti-shock and anti-magnetic and later on in 1965 Brietling introduced 765 Co- pilot ‘Jean-Claude Killy’ which was nick named after Jean who wore this model in 1968 Olympics. The model was updated slightly to the 765 AVI with a undated anodized black bezel instead on stainless steel and has become the one to buy. Overall all the 765 models are great vintage Breitling’s to buy in all aspects they definitely are one to watch out for in the future.