Breitling ref 817 CP-1 E.I Esercito Italiano E.I.0182


Breitling ref 817
Specifically made for Italian Helicopter pilots ,  (Army Pilots, not Air Force pilots) and in some rare cases to platoon commanders of the Battaglione Paracadutisti Carabinieri “Tuscania”. These guys get a full training as Carabinieri (Police and Military Police) then a full training as paratroopers at the “Folgore” Paratroopers Brigade School in Livorno (Tuscany). Then the steep mountains of Sardegna and Calabria are their usual fields of ops hunting kidnappers, mobsters and camorrists. They are the spearhead of almost all the peacekeeping and peaceenforcing italian mission. Tough guys.
as such these were never made available commercially on the open market and  22 pieces have surfaced so far or were ever offered for sale.
The ones I have found over the last 15 years are these , and I would love to hear from fellow collectors if they have more information :
0006 – 1 433 810
0024 – 1 433 697
0120 – 1 433 850 (Bridge unsigned)
0182 – 1 433 513
0385 – 1 433 477
0394 – 1 433 629
0416 – 1 433 398
0423 – 1 433 560
0488 – 1 433 676
0517 –
0524 –
0545 – 1 433 636
0566 – 1 43x xxx
0567 – 1 433 567
0616 –
Unassigned – 1 433 723
Unassigned – 1 433 786
serviced in 2012
from a fellow collector :
I think this is a very collectible and unique watch in many ways – but then I might be overly biased as it does combine my two big watch fascinations, military issued watches and Breitlings. As far as I’m aware Breitling only ever produced two watches commissioned by the military to their spec. The first is the Canadian one button chrono, which is smallish (about 36mm) and I’ve only seen it sporting the Canadian military redial. The other is the Breitling 817. So as a Breitling collector this is rare, a watch that was never available commercially, custom manufactured for the Italian military and produced in what seems to be tiny numbers (judging by how rarely they appear). Not only that but it’s a cracking looking watch with classic tool watch styling and a good large size (around 39/40mm).
Now switching my perspective to that of a military collector (because they will be fighting the Breitling buyers for it) this watch is also unusual and fits into various different collecting areas. First of all it’s desirable for the fact that it is a commissioned watch made for the military and never commercially
sold, as opposed to a watch that was bought by the military from a commercially produced line (e.g. Seamaster 300).
It’s an Italian military chrono which are very collectible and it really should be judged against its peers, the Zenith Cairlelli and the Universal Geneve, both of which are pretty rare and priced accordingly. It’s in the style of the Heuer Bund which is also a collectible line of watches (Leonidas and Sinn) so if you collect those you will want this in your collection.
The market puts an increasing premium on military issued watches. A Rolex submariner 5513 from the Seventies, £3-5k normally, add fixed bars and make it military issued, £30-50k. There’s a military premium on watches like the Seamaster 300 or Tudor Submariner. These watches are also very tricky to buy because except for the issued markings they are often the same as their commercial counterparts.
If you want to assess the value of it I’d judge it with my military hat on. This as a rare military watch with bullet proof provenance from a well known manufacturer with military and aviation history. It’s a great wearable size and is attractive with a clean military dial. I ask myself the question if this was the Zenith or the Lemania Swaf or the Swedish “three crowns” Lemania what would I have to pay for it?


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