Breitling AVI ref 765 1962

 this watch is no longer available
The watch pictured used to belong to the young man, John, standing proudly in front of his plane.John was eager to to serve in WWII and enlisted at the age of 17 with his parents permission . He served with the 8Th Air force , 392nd bomb group as a flight engineer and after flying many missions over Germany he participated in the ‘D-Day’ invasion. He named his crew’s plane ‘My Prayer’ and this plane survived and made it back home to the USA after the war.John passed away in 2002 age 78
Breitling ref 765 , 1962
serviced and stunningly restored by Horological Svcs in PA USA (Vintage Breitling service center) in 2014 for >USD $1800 (documentation will be provided with the watch)
Case newly brushed
Dial replaced
Hands replaced
full service
This is a stunning watch to wear and enormously hard to find in any condition

Some of the watches I have seen also have an extra number engraved on the back below the ‘AVI’ stamp. One Owner was told by the original watch owner that this is a serial number from the Italian airforce. If this is correct , and I have no reason to doubt it, there are All black AVI’s out there that were purchased by the italian airforce and I assume these were handed to their pilots and/or navigators as tools of the trade and returned after service . The ‘Italian airforce’ pieces are again a combination of ‘digital’ and ‘analog’ watches where the extra number does not seem to follow any serial number range (see list below) where 827818 has number 421 engraved and is a “digital’ version whereas 827833 has number 414 and is a ‘analog’ version.  

Some sources also site the French Airforce as origin for the extra 3 digits. 1 Italian forum and 
1 french

"the number of French Air Force assignment engraved on the back (52x) Probably this serial was 
attributed to a military laboratory as cataloging, with subsequent delivery to the various 
department,  For many years this type of watch and follow and 'the 2nd I see with the 
assignment (at this time and the other' in the network and the owners have pointed out that 
'the first time I noticed the attribution of this model)"

How and where these fit into the Military categories for either French or Italian Airforces is currently still unknown and uncertain and needs to be investigated, also proof needs to be provided before this can be accepted as fact

Rumour 2:

in 1952/1953, the unproven rumors go, Breitling was in intense negotiations w/ the French Airforce and the AVI was developed based on the ref. 765, adapting the 30 minute counter to 15 minutes and adding the 12h bezel – prototypes or a small series were delivered and then the political connections of Breguet/Vixa changed the tender specs to add the flyback functions and Breitling lost the contract. Unsubstantiated, unproven and probably unprovable today, as most corporate documents were not passed on to the new trademark owner, Mr. Schneider. Probably still lying somewhere in a safe


CASE & BACK: This watch measures a large 41.5 x 47mm not including crown and is 14mm to the top of the flush fit crystal. The heavy all-steel case does  show its original bevels and contrast satin-polished finish. There are very few superficial scratches and some nicks commensurate with a very lightly worn 53-year-old tool watch  — Fantastic vintage condition overall. The outer part of the screwed steel back has some very light and superficial scratches but shows its original Breitling nomenclature of the period including the 949000 1962 serial number on the inside, which indicates a 1962 production, and correct 765 AVI reference–also Excellent original cosmetic condition. The inner caseback shows no corrosion and has the correct internal Breitling engraving of the era.
BEZEL: The Stainless steel rotating bezel is correct and original and in Very Good condition with 3 screws in place The bezel itself rotates with good tension in both directions as designed.
DIAL & HANDS: New service Mint matte black dial with white printing and finely calibrated track and no imperfections visible under a loupe All bright white luminous numbers . All hands have been replaced as well with service hands
CROWN & PUSHERS: New Signed Breitling crown looks very clean and winds and pulls out to the time-setting position as it should. It sits tightly against the case. The two pusher caps are likewise new and both chrono pushers work as they should and also nice and crisply.
CRYSTAL: Large flush-fit acrylic crystal is Excellent+ without scratches and no deep marks and sits barely proud of the bezel, which I believe to be correct for this model.
MOVEMENT: Legendary Venus 178 chronograph movement Heavily modified to accommodate the 15 minute counter is looking bright and working well with all correct Breitling nomenclature of the era and shock protection. Watch has been serviced in 2014 for the sum of $1850 by Horological services in PA. USA , the only authorized Vintage Breitling service center , and it is keeping good time with a strong power reserve and all chronograph functions are working properly and returning to zero. This is guaranteed to be the case at the time of shipment. Service documentation will be provided with the watch .



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