Breitling Cosmonaut A12023.1 Chronograph 24 Hour special series, this is a discontinued model from 1990,s stunning piece if you can get used to 24 hour time. The watch has a manual wind movement Breitling Calibre 12 which is a Lemania movement uses 17 or 18 jewels as there is 2 versions.
The watch looks like a navitimer but slightly smaller at 40mm and was made in very small numbers possibly around 3000. The watch has a see through caseback with engraving Cosmonaute Série Spéciale Étanche 30 M, as well as the reference number and the serial number, which is 4 digits long very short serial for a breitling.
The dial is black with silver sub dials and tritium markers with blue hands no date function unfortunately. Overhaul a cracking piece but not easy to actually tell the time but sure to be a future collectors piece.
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.
Radium Testing on Vintage Watches, a neat video catch up on Hodinkee where they do some radium testing on some timepieces. Radium was used early on in wrist watch making for the hour markers or numbers as nothing else was available at the time for the luminosity on seeing the time while diving or at night times. The radium used is small amounts of radiation but glows really bright and the life span of radium is half like at 1600 years!!
All watch makers went to tritium radium mixture about mid 1960,s due to not using Radioactive material for obvious reasons. They then applied tritium to all the dials up until 1999 which had only .25 radium used, hence “Swiss T25” on the dials, then finally switched to super bright luminovo which is currently in use by all the to watch brands.
A lot of the older Rolex dials had “Swiss” at the bottom and were radium, then they went “Swiss T25” with Rolex or Omega “T Swiss Made T” which stands for tritium. In current days “Swiss Made” at the bottom from 1999 was the cut off for tritium use. Tritium has a life span of around 12.5 years so most of the vintage watches past mid 1960,s up to 1999 do not glow at all and usually have a lovely aged patina a key selling point with vintage.
The tester is a really good piece of kit for the vintage watch buyer as most of the old time pieces have had a re dial or been re-lumed which is no no for the true vintage watch hunter, but like every thing vintage comes down to affordability. Some of the classic vintage pieces are very pricey also very hard to find the full sets with great provenance which is another key factor as well as the lume.
As the title says a lovely little piece by Heuer, The Heuer 1614 french made a very 1970,s design and colours! These was manufactured by firm called Monnin for Heuer not sure why they was made in France but there is no markings by Monnin. The watch was made in a few variants this version has a fume dial with blue sub dial, tachy ring orange chrono and minute marker hands with date window at 3 o clock.
This Heuer is anti-magnetic and houses a Swiss valjoux 7765 movement very popular movement used by loads of watch makers in the past valjoux. I love the watches from the 1970,s have great character and charm brushed steel with polished sides. Most watches from that era have increased in value some of the Heuer’s have rocketing in price beyond belief. This one is at the cheaper end of the market but a great piece all the same for the vintage look also with Heuer name too total value for money without breaking the bank.
As the title says following are recent blogs of the SpeedMaster Moon watch, this is the modern version of the moonwatch st 145.022 it has not changed much since the previous model st145.022. They has been a few subtle changes the dial is luminova rather than aged tritium dials which started around late 90s. The bracelet has been updated to modern style and feel with brushed and polished finish and a lot more robust. The movement has been updated from Cal 861 to 1861 not sure what they did more than likely a slight modification on the Cal 861 which has been in moon watches for over 20 years.
The look is still the same with hesalite crystal and tachymetre bezel also the caseback is the same as previous model st 145.022, the changes overhaul are very minor, the biggest change is the look modern or vintage which just comes down to taste personally vintage look for me always. The luminova dials glow really bright in the dark as the vintage stuff does not glow at all as tritium loses its luminosity the longer it ages.
There is actually an newer version to this model, made a few years back only difference is they gave this a new model number and updated the bracelet with screws and a pins instead of the pin and tube just to make it easy to remove links and possibly less chance of age related stretch. However they added a huge briefcase style box that weighs a ton and bumped the price up to £3390 from around £2700 but the actual watch head stayed the same.
If your are looking for a modern speedmaster moonwatch this is the one to buy 3570.50.00 if you want a vintage moonwatch then look for the st 145.022 as prices are still good and not gone crazy yet. The earlier moon watches are stupid crazy money and hard to find.
As the title says Thirteen Rolex Military Submariners of Grahame Fowler fantastic historic watches by Rolex that every collector would love to own one including myself.
Prices become silly on these in recent times topping £100.000 most collectors bought them when folk did not know what the watch was worth and most likely inherited. I know a chap who bought a few in the 1990,s for around £10.000 each and he has a nice collection too.
The watch was made for the ministry of defence and Rolex back in the 1950,s was the leading Brand on dive watches so no brainer to supply the divers in WW2 with A military Submariner. They wanted the watch to be different to the commercial Submariner hence the Mil Sub, at that time they wanted fixed spring bars and nato strap not steel oyster bracelet. This model was made in small numbers and is a piece that will stamped in the history of the finest Military collectible watch ever made. Enjoy the video!