Andreww's Guide to Breitling Navitimers

Discussion in 'Breitling Replicas' started by andreww, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. andreww

    andreww Active Member

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    I don't think I ever posted this here. Hope somebody will find it interesting...

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    Having been around the boards for several years now, I’d like to think that I have learned a little bit about all things watch related. However, the watch that got me hooked on this crazy hobby, and the one that remains closest to my heart is, and will always been the Breitling Navitimer. I often receive PMs from new members asking countless questions about the pros and cons of the various available models. So, I thought it was time to put together a detailed guide on all current and past Navitimer models.

    Forget about perfection
    Common Flaws
    As of writing this guide, there is no perfect Navitimer replica. Some are better than others, but all of them share at least some imperfections. Although each model has its strong points and weaknesses, some flaws are common to all Navitimer reps. Most notably of these common flaws is the slide rule insert. You will notice that the numbers on the rep insert do not come close enough to the crystal. This is the first thing that I look for when trying to determine if a Navitimer is genuine.

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    On the most recent batch of Navi reps the insert markings do not align properly with the dial markings. This is a problem with the insert as the previous generation’s insert aligns perfectly with the newer rep dials or genuine dials. Also, the genuine insert has a silvery tint to it while the rep inserts are whiter in appearance. Another flaw with all the Navitimer reps is the obvious lack of AR coating. The previous versions did have a light coating on the inside of the crystal, but nowhere near the deep blue tint of the genuine. A genuine Navitimer crystal will be invisible from almost any angle.

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    All of the current lineup of Navitimer reps are cursed with and incorrect date font. Although Breitling bases all modern Navitimers on the Valjoux 7750 or 7753, they use their own datewheels, so not even the Swiss 7750 datewheel is correct.

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    Bracelets
    The Navitimer bracelet is actually quite good. Although the markings, like most reps, are not as deep and defined as the genuine. One obvious clue to a rep bracelet is that the screw heads for the removable links are on different sides on either side of the bracelet. The gen bracelet has all screw heads on the same side. The other obvious tell is that the end link at the buckle is one piece on the rep while the gen is made of individual pieces.

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    The stamping on the buckle extension is also very light with the word “Breitling†being noticeably smaller.

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    Now that we are aware of the common flaws of all Navitimer models, lets look at each model for their unique flaws.


    Navitimer 50th Anniversary Edition

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    This is one of the more rare reps out there. It is by far the least accurate Navitimer rep available, so there are not a lot of examples of it in our community. This one features a manual wind Seagull movement, which leads to its poor subdial spacing, incorrect subdial function as well as improperly aligned crown and pushers.

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    Also, the see through caseback on this one is pure fantasy as the gen has a solid back. Also, the case on this model is polished while the genuine is brushed. A newer 7750 based version of the 50th Anniversary Navitimer has been recently released on King’s site. Again, this version is incorrectly polished. Also, the subdial spacing and function as well as the pusher/crown alignment is inaccurate because of the incorrect movement. This one also uses the wrong caseback (from the tricompax A23322 model).

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    The most obvious flaw on the 1st generation is its lack of a date window at the 4:00 position. The new model does have a date window, but the date wheel is the wrong color for some inexplicable reason. Date font, window size and position are all well off the mark. Also, the word “Date†should be on the outside of the window, not on the inside. This model only comes with a white dial, but the subdials on this one should be black, not white, according to all my references.

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    The slide rule doesn’t align, and the numbers are too small. The red “60†on the insert is also printed too high. The incorrect caseback is from the Modern Navitimer 23322.

    Quick summary
    • Polished case incorrectly finished
    • Incorrect subdial spacing and function
    • Incorrect crown/pusher alignment
    • Wrong caseback
    • No AR
    • No date window (Seagull version)
    • Wrong date font, window size, position (7750 version)

    Bottom line
    This one is verging on fantasy isn’t it?.


    The Navitimer Serie Speciale (Fighters Edition)

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    Although a member favorite, the Serie Speciale is IMO not the most accurate of all the available Navitimer reps. The most obvious “tell†on this one is that the rep case and bracelet are polished, while the genuine comes with a very cool looking brushed finish. The crystal on the rep is another obvious giveaway, as it uses the same slightly domed crystal as all other Navitimer reps. The genuine model uses a domed crystal, similar in shape to that of the speedmaster, with a very heavy lip.

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    The current model is the second generation of the Serie Speciale rep. The only difference between the two is the dial and the use of the 28k 7750 movement in the newer version. The dial on the original version apparently featured odd looking stickers on the subdials.

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    Although the subdial stickers disappeared on the 2nd gen Fighters the “pie pan†effect and subdial look is not as accurate on this model. The sharp lip on the edge of the subdials is not accurate and the piepan effect is not as pronounced as on the gen.

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    The caseback has all the correct markinks, but it is spoiled by the misspelling of the name “Messerschmittâ€. Also, the overall shape of the caseback is off as the genuine has a more conical shape to it.

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    The Navitimer rep manufacturer seems to have used one case for all models. The Serie Speciale case and bezel are different however. The gen bezel seems to be deeper with a more pronounced shape to the ground out half circles.

    (The following images feature Importr’s modded (Brushed) rep, as well as his genuine Fighters Edition)

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    The shape of the case where the lugs meet the bezel also differs to accommodate the deeper bezel.

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    Quick summary
    • Polished case incorrectly finished
    • Incorrect bezel shape
    • Incorrect case shape
    • Wrong crystal shape
    • Misspelling on caseback
    • Incorrectly recessed subdials
    • No AR
    • Inaccurate slide rule (2nd Gen)
    • Wrong date font

    Bottom line
    This one is not the most accurate, but with some modding can be a very nice piece.


    Two Tone Old Navitimer II

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    For those that are looking for a more accurate version of a 6-9-12 Navitimer, I suggest you look at the Two Tone Navitimer II. Some dealers mistakingly advertise this watch as a “Serie Specialeâ€, when in fact this is a replica of a Navitimer II that was produced by Breitling prior to 2003, when the 7750 (6-9-12) was replaced by the tricompax 7753. The case and bezel on this one is very accurate. The dial markings are somewhat accurate, but the inner set of numbers on the slide rule are too small making them a little hard to read.

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    The slide rule markings on the black dialed version are mistakenly printed in white, not in gold as they should be.

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    The subdials should not be recessed. Recessed subdials seem to be a feature of the more modern Navitimers. Also, the piepan effect is not as pronounced on the rep.

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    From what I can tell, the subdial hands on this model are incorrectly colored. They should have black hands, not silver, although this could have been a variation that Breitling incorporated at some point The caseback is incorrect. The shape of the genuine is more conical , and the rep is marked incorrectly as it is actually the caseback from the 23322 tricompax Navitimer. The proper model for this model is 13322.

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    Quick summary
    • Wrong caseback
    • Incorrectly recessed subdials
    • Wrongly colored hands
    • No AR
    • Inaccurate slide rule
    • Wrong date font

    Bottom line
    Why don’t they make this one in SS? This model would be great for adding a genuine dial and ETA movement. Some inaccuracies, but there are so many variations of this model, only a Breitling WIS would be able to spot them.


    Tricompax Modern Navitimer

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    In 2003 Breitling returned the Navitimer to its original tricompax (3-6-9) layout. The genuine is powered by a Valjoux 7753, while the rep uses a reconfigured Asian 7750. Because of this, the datewheel is lowered to make room for the extra gears needed to move the 30 minute totalizer to the 3:00 position. This is commonly referred to as a “recessed datewheelâ€. This is probably the biggest glaring flaw on this watch, as the datewheel sits well below the dial, creating shadows and a noticeable gap. The date font is not only wrong on this model (as discussed in “common flawsâ€), but the single digits on this model (1-9) should be rotated 90º toward the center of the dial.

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    The current Modern Navitimer rep is the second version of this model. The first generation used a 21k Asian 7750, had an accurate slide rule ring, and a slightly better piepan shape on the subdials, but lacked the recessed subdial lip.

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    The 1st generation Navi also had an incorrect matte finish to the dial. The newer version has the correct lip around the subdials, correct glossy finish on the dial, and a slightly bigger and better defined date window.

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    The caseback on this model is correctly marked, but the shape is incorrect. The genuine caseback has a conical shape to it, rising up to the wings medallion in the center.

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    Quick summary
    • Recessed date window (too small)
    • Wrong date font
    * Incorrectly positioned single digit dates
    • Incorrectly shaped caseback
    • No AR
    • Inaccurate slide rule (2nd Gen only)

    Bottom line
    Some people despise the recessed datewheel, but in my opinion it is the most accurate of the current batch of Navi reps. After all, the factory created the case set based on this model, then used it for all the other models.

    Slide rule usage guide
    Anton has posted an in depth instruction manual for slide rule usage on the Navitimer. You can view that post here...

    Anton's Guide
     
  2. hk45ca

    hk45ca ADVISOR
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    this is great info for us breitling fans!!

    thanks for posting it!!!!!

    hk
     
  3. doctorron

    doctorron Active Member

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    Thanks Andrew. I'm going to really study this this weekend.
     
  4. PHicks

    PHicks Active Member

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    Andrew,
    I can't imagine how long it took you to put this together; all I can say is thanks. This is what RWI should be about; watches, watches, watches rather than Klink, Klonk, forgotten!

    Peter
     
  5. seanf

    seanf I am James Boned, Hear me ROAR!
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    Wow. Fantastic guide. If you like Breitlings, that is. Why can't you do something like this for, say, Rado? You know you want to.
     
  6. MrZoSo

    MrZoSo The Ghost Of RWI
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    Fantastic composition here Andrew. Thank you for sharing this! :D
     
  7. qwerty

    qwerty Member

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    Andreww, I am curious to know if you would not mind commenting on the accuracy of each of these Navitimer models. Difference between the two is only the bracelet so I would love to hear your comments on the leather version. Additionally, the pics seem different than your review and I am curious if these are newer versions of the rep or the pics are of the gen.

    Thanls so much for your time.

    Both links are from Ruby.

    http://www.nicereplica.com/pro_detail.php?ProId=79

    http://www.nicereplica.com/pro_detail.php?ProId=155

    -Qwerty
     
  8. rooster133

    rooster133 Armed and feathered
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    always loved this review/guide. thanks andreww!! this is a must read for any breitling fan
     
  9. guru

    guru ADVISOR
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    Andrew, just saw it today :( , great posting ...wish this watch would be bigger.
    But it is a classic watch, so one day I will buy one for the collection only and maybe day s will come, when I will wear it.

    Thx for posting
     
  10. TimesShopNet

    Trusted dealer  

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    i learn a lot. thanks
     
  11. MEYER8888

    MEYER8888 Active Member
     

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    stunning rewiew really thanks. I really not understand why this model, on of the most famous in watch history, is so bad repped of... we have a lot of accurate rep, the deepsea is out when the AD in france doesn t have it, and the Navitimer stay 4 or 5 years late... really not understand
     
  12. hk45ca

    hk45ca ADVISOR
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    i wish they would make a good version of the navi myself. i love breitling and this is one of my favorite watches.
     
  13. Heijunka

    Heijunka Member

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    Absolutely intriguing and educational, you obviously put a lot of work into this and I think the community appreciates it - I certainly do, thanks.
     
  14. Ridler

    Ridler RWI SUPPORTER
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    Yer it's really sad that they can't seem to make a decent rep of this beautiful watch.

    I myself bought a Navitimer Fighter's even though knowing all the flaws, I couldn't keep away from it. It's such a beautiful piece. I would most def buy one if they made a "Ultimate Navitimer".
     
  15. jn1975

    jn1975 Member

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    Maybe bumping up a old thread but damn what a nice side by side comparison.
    I'm not so into Breitlings at all but this review is simply stunning.
    Thanks for all your effort in making this comparison and thanks for sharing.
    These kind of reviews make this forum really wonderful.
     
  16. Pix

    Pix Tar and feathers !
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    I'd love o see an ultimate Navitimer (I mean a real one, not a new bugged version).
    That is one of the only Breitling I know which I can wear as a dressy watch (just using a thinner black strap). Busy dial, but elegant. Today I own a quartz TT version, which finally is not worse than most more expensive reps.
    I love those with a dark blue dial...
     
  17. jkwhyd

    jkwhyd Member

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    This review is most educational. I have always admire the Navitimer. The details you pointed out are not obvious to most people.

    Thanks,

    jk
     
  18. afthasemal

    afthasemal Member

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    My Navitimer - modern :D

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  19. geektom

    geektom Member

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    Great revieuw Andrew!
     
  20. guillaumelou

    guillaumelou Member

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    + 1000 ! I love this watch, certainly my next rep, but I will wait the Asia 7750 become more reliable... I have hesitated for my first bought between the navitimer and the Submariner, and I have bought the Submariner because it's more accurate and the Eta 2836 is a good movement !