Here is a lovely early 1970’s Breitling “Co-Pilote” 7651 watch with the famous Chronomatic movement. It was seriously huge at the time, but today 48 mm is simply “large”. This makes it eminently wearable, not just a safe-queen. The black PVD bezel is cool, but the replacement bracelet is unfortunate.
Breitling and Heuer lead the chronograph market in the 1950’s and 1960’s, dominating the European/aviation and American/automotive market segments, respectively. So it was a surprise when these erstwhile foes joined forces to create the first automatic chronograph movement. The story of “Project 99” is a fascinating one, and today’s grail is the result of this cooperation.
Although the Chronomatic team received much more initial publicity and ramped sales quickly with dozens of models, the movement was dead in just a few years. A victim of the quartz crisis and the collapse of the Swiss watch industry, it lacked the “legs” of competing offerings from Zenith and Seiko. This makes vintage Chrono-Matics (as Breitling termed them) quite collectible today. They’re also somewhat more reliable than the High-Beat Zenith El Primero.
This Chrono-Matic features “Co-Pilote” styling, with a black dial highlighting the white bi-compax subdials. The black PVD bezel is fantastic, and the large size makes it seemingly contemporary, a nice contrast to the faded lume and patina. The left-side crown is a tell-tale sign of a Chronomatic watch!
This Breitling even includes an original box, which would make a nice decoration in the office of the buyer.
It’s on offer for $4,250 from Crown & Caliber, a reputable online dealer.
Leave a Reply