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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:42 pm 
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Hello everyone, I'm new to the forum and this is my first time posting. I am fairly unfamiliar with vintage Breitling watches, but love watches and just purchased what I believe to be a 1963 AOPA Navitimer. I was hoping to get some guidance on what others think about its condition, whether or not it's looks to be all original and if it's a good idea to have it serviced by Horological Services and/or take it to a more local vintage watch repair shop to open it up and see if there are any internal issues.

Sorry for the poor picture quality, but please see the attached pictures as reference.

Here is some additional information that may be helpful:
-It does have the 'AOPA' lettering in the AOPA shield
-The second hand does not have an arrowhead at the tip. This makes me think it is a replacement bc all pictures of the 1963 watch have the arrowhead
-The back of watch does look correct/identical to pictures of the back of the 1963 watches online. It is stamped with 'stainless steel', 'Breitling', logo and '806'.
-I did a quick count of the beads and believe there are 93-95 beads.
-The right subdial hand has some corrosion (dirt,rust,mold? unsure) so I'm concerned that means there is more inside.
-The glass face is pretty scratched up as you can probably tell from the photos. I'm not sure what I should do about that (leave it as is, replace, etc).
-After exposing to light then looking at watch in the dark there is no glow at all any more.

My main questions and concerns are:
-Does it make sense to take it to vintage watch repair shop to at least open it, review the condition of the inside and get the serial number?
-Given it's current condition and potential issues from above, does anyone have an idea of the value and if it is missing some original parts (secondhand, etc)?
-Is it a good idea to have it serviced by Horological Services or is there a chance they would replace parts that would make it less original/desirable/etc.

I apologize for so many questions. I just really like the watch and after reading through the forum, Kurt B's site, and the history of the early Navitimers I want to make sure I treat it right.

Any guidance would be extremely helpful.

RJ

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:03 pm 
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Crap photo but I think it all looks good. DO NOT send it to horological services as you may loose the unique features of the watch you have. Find a competent watchmaker to service the mechanism, replace the crystal if needed and otherwise leave it as is. Wear it in good health.

A tiny thing I notice is the subdial hands. The one at the 3 o'clock position is fatter and belongs at the 6 o'clock subdial position, so when you get it serviced, get them swapped.

As for the chrono hand, it may be a carryover from the all-black model which did not have the arrowhead. In any case, you're unlikely to find a correct one anyway so you'll have to live with it!


Last edited by buddman on Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:15 am 
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welcome to the forum, RJ !

lovely and rare watch; congratulations !

as this is an early dial variation, still not marked Tritium, I'm with Dave that the chrono sweep (looks correct for the all black) might have been originally mounted; I would leave it as is !

the "corrosion" on the subdial actually looks like seeping oils - it could be probably cleaned by a very cautious and highly competent watchmaker; I agree sending it to the Heists makes little sense here, as both waiting times and costs seem unwarranted; sadly Craig isn't taking on new customers at the moment, although you could email him and ask; he might make an exception for such a lovely piece.

now to the valuation: one of the rarest panda variations, built only in 1963, pics are really poor, but it seems to actually be in quite good condition and could be close to perfect when a good watchmaker has done his job, I'd say roughly in the range 4-5k US$ ?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:51 pm 
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buddman wrote:
Crap photo but I think it all looks good. DO NOT send it to horological services as you may loose the unique features of the watch you have. Find a competent watchmaker to service the mechanism, replace the crystal if needed and otherwise leave it as is. Wear it in good health.

A tiny thing I notice is the subdial hands. The one at the 3 o'clock position is fatter and belongs at the 6 o'clock subdial position, so when you get it serviced, get them swapped.

As for the chrono hand, it may be a carryover from the all-black model which did not have the arrowhead. In any case, you're unlikely to find a correct one anyway so you'll have to live with it!


Thanks for the guidance buddman. I do have a few follow up questions on your reply related to the crystal. Would replacing the crystal cause issues with it being considered original and should a certain replacement be used? I'm also not sure if it can it be replaced on this particular year/model without having to replace the bead bezel as well so was just looking for a little clarify on that as well.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:59 pm 
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WatchFred wrote:
welcome to the forum, RJ !

lovely and rare watch; congratulations !

as this is an early dial variation, still not marked Tritium, I'm with Dave that the chrono sweep (looks correct for the all black) might have been originally mounted; I would leave it as is !

the "corrosion" on the subdial actually looks like seeping oils - it could be probably cleaned by a very cautious and highly competent watchmaker; I agree sending it to the Heists makes little sense here, as both waiting times and costs seem unwarranted; sadly Craig isn't taking on new customers at the moment, although you could email him and ask; he might make an exception for such a lovely piece.

now to the valuation: one of the rarest panda variations, built only in 1963, pics are really poor, but it seems to actually be in quite good condition and could be close to perfect when a good watchmaker has done his job, I'd say roughly in the range 4-5k US$ ?


Thanks as well WatchFred! I'm very happy and excited to read your positive remarks. I had a few questions on your suggestion to take it to a highly competent watchmaker. Do you happen to know of any in Michigan by chance? I'd love to reach out to Craig, but am not sure who you are referring to. Is his email or contact information somewhere else on the forum? Lastly, do you have any ball park idea of what it would cost to clean it, fix the oil issue and replace the crystal? I believe that value you provided would be after a successful cleaning so I want to make sure I have an idea of what it would take to get it to that value range or even back to the best condition I can get it to after a good watchmaker as addressed the issue areas. Thanks again!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:06 pm 
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no, its not a big deal at all. The crystal just pops into the bead bezel from the dial side. There is sometimes a bit of variation in the the crystal fit, so my recommendation is to ask your watch market to order both a "Sternkreuz M 384" and "Sternkreuz M 386" to see which one fits best. They differ n diameter by 0.2mm. They only cost $5-$7 each so no big loss in ordering 2 for the right fit. I think the 386 is normally the one that works for me.

You can also keep your old crystal alongside the watch but personally I wouldn't care. How do you know the one in there is original anyway? :-)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:17 am 
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I was wondering if anyone could give me any suggestions for a watchmaker in Michigan. I just need them to open the back so I can take some pictures of the inside. I do not intend for them to do any work on the watch or test its working condition, but just open, take some pictures then close it back up. Would I need to find a vintage watchmaker or should I feel comfortable with any Breitling or other high end brand specialists even if they typically work on newer models.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:21 am 
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any watchmaker can pop the back off. You don't need anything special for that.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:25 am 
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I wanted to provide an update on my watch (sorry for delay, it was getting serviced) and I did have a follow up question. First,wanted to thank WatchFred for suggesting that I reach out to Craig. I did just that and after seeing the pictures he made an exception! I just got it back from him. He did a full service on it and said overall it was an very above average condition 806 and the inside mechanism was in great shape. I have attached an updated picture. At this point, I think I have a good idea of the value being in the 4-5K range given that it seems to be all original, in good condition after Craig's service. My only question relates to how best to go about replacing the strap so to maintain that value or maybe help it.

Is it wise to find a correct strap for this watch from the period, a new (or any newish) Breitling Navitimer leather strap, or does the strap not really matter that much and more a matter of personal preference?

Any guidance would be helpful

Ryan


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:29 am 
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personal preference.

and congrats!


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