Swiss watchmaking is the pinnacle of timepiece mechanics and Breitling is one of the flag bearers of this luxury industry for men’s watches. Back in the day when aviators were adventurers reaching new exotic frontiers, you could bet that the watch of choice was a Breitling chronometer.
The Navitimer model is one great example of this golden age that was a popular part of men’s accessories. The Breitling Cosmonaute even went to space aboard the Aurora 7 spacecraft in 1962. Breitlings are famous for mechanically-driven automatic winding, sturdy and exquisite cases, and large faces.
The Breitling watches are so sought after that there are many who try to pitch cheap pretenders. However, the quality and finishing of a luxurious and ageless Breitling cannot be replicated, and with some informed observations you can authenticate a Breitling or spot a fraud.
1. Stock up on the research
Before you go ahead with your search for a Breitling watch, it is important to get your basic research in place. Are you looking for a particular model? Check out some authenticated models online to get an idea of what you should expect. Here is a Blue Impulse piece. Note the screw in bezel and details on the metal strap. The Astromat in 18 carat gold and steel is another popular Breitling Watch. Observe the fine detailing, including the B carved elegantly on the second’s hand.
2. The face
The Breitling name under the anchor and wings logo is always etched on the face. In case the watch you are looking at shows fuzzy printing or the font is a little large, then it is not an original. Also, in an authentic logo, there is a space between the wings and the anchor. You also need to look out for a little anchor symbol on the second hand. The anchor should have sharp points and the inside of the B above it should be close to the stem. The centre pin that holds the hands should be of the same colour as the hands.
3. The chronograph details
Breitlings are chronographs and the sub dials are for other measurements of time. The calendar on a Breitling watch, if the model has one, is displayed on a separate window. A lot of Breitling fakes get caught due to this detail. They have the calendar (day and month) display on the sub dials. There are some fakes with the separate window, but the clarity and magnification will be sub-standard.
4. Catch up on the foreign languages
The most basic first round of analysis would be the spelling. A lot of non-English words are engraved on the back of the watch, and fakes can sometime contain glaring errors. Refer to an original image to compare and look for errors.
5. Check for Breitling basics
If you come across an open-heart Breitling watch, you either have in front of you a very rare Bentley Mulliner model or it is a fake. In this case, it is always good to start with some circumspect. Breitling seconds hands move with the distinctive and uniform tick of a mechanical movement. Most fakes will be automatics so the movement will be a continuous motion. There are automatic Breitling models so you need to know those details thoroughly in case you do come across one of them.
The serial number on Breitling men watches is usually stamped on the bracelet, or if it has a leather strap, it will be on the back of the watch. The same goes with the model number. Check refer the model and serial number with a trusted source to ensure it is not fabricated. If the strap is leather then look for the phrases cuir veritable or croco veritable which mean genuine leather and genuine crocodile skin respectively. A Breitling watch has heavy duty components of very high-quality and the average weight would be between 90 to 120 grams. However, this is just one indicator as many fakes could include extra parts just to measure up.
6. The Breitling finish
A Breitling watch is a possession that will probably be handed down to generations. The finishing of a Breitling watch and the quality of its components are made to last for a very long time. Watch out for anything that seems odd, for example a bezel that is not seamlessly part of the design. Breitling crystals reflect a bluish-purple light, so that is another box to tick while you authenticate a watch.
7. The glare
Breitling watches have many deft touches that fakes will not feature. One of them is the anti-glare coating on a Breitling crystal to reduce the glaring off the face. If the watch you are investigating emits a very bright glare when reflecting off a light source, you can bet that it is a fake.
8. A collector’s treasure
Some of the popular Breitling men watches include the Emergency, which was one of the first watches to have an emergency transmitter. This gold and steel chronometer is a perfect example of Breitling watch art. The Superocean and the Chronomat are other legendary Breitling models. When you are buying a new Breitling make sure you get a certificate of authenticity, and if the same is available with a pre-owned model then it makes your authentication work much easier. Buy from trusted sellers, with a good history and dedication to luxury collectibles.
“Swiss made” is not a term that is thrown about casually in the world of horology. The epitome of craftsmanship is often represented by a watch made in the picturesque cantons of this land-locked country. Based in Grechen, Breitling has raised the bar for precision instruments since its inception in the year 1884, emboldened by a quintessential Swiss approach to design and luxury finishing. Owning a Breitling is like owning a treasure, a collector’s favourite and a symbol of affluent and sophisticated taste. Relish the feel, the look and the mechanism of this iconic watch.