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I posted this nearly a year ago, still on the old forum. Ironically you can still find all the old posts over there.
Please note that I haven't checked it to be completely up to date.


The story has been told numerous times before, so I'll only give a short version here.
In 1979 the original Breitling company that was founded in 1892, and had been in family hands all its life, was liquidated. Several parties acquired parts of the Breitling heritage. Name, designs and parts all went to new owners.

The Ollech & Wajs company was founded more then twenty years earlier, somewhere in the 50's, by the two gentlemen that gave the company it's name. They specialised in good quality, affordable tool watches, and achieved quit a good reputation among soldiers, that preferred them to the government issued watches. In 1979 O&W had the foresight to buy much of the parts that were stocked by Breitling to build and/or service their watches from the Navitimer line.

Up to this day they still have on offer new, unused watches build from original Breitling parts, and parts that came from the original Breitling suppliers. They are sold under the Aviation name.



There are six models available. All of them in steel, and some also plated and in 18k gold. Prices range from SFr 2150 (US$1800) for the ref.nr.44017 in steel, to SFr 8425 (US$7060) for the ref.nr.34017 in 18k gold. All of them with vintage movements, including a gift box, leather strap and instructions for use.



It's important to notice that these watches were designed in the 60's and 70's, and although they are new, they must be considered classic watches. They have beautiful vintage mechanical movements, that will give years of trouble free service if well maintained. Most are hand wound, although two models make use of the Buren Cal.12. These latter movements lack a running second hand, and have a reputation for being fairly difficult to maintain. All of these watches should be considered very poorly protected against water. Don't even wear them when coming close to water. The one exception is the ref.nr.6081, that in its days was supposed to be waterproof. But although this watch will be better protected against accidental submersion, for practical purposes it should be considered not to be waterproof as well.

Just suppose you're in the market for a classic pilot's chronograph. You like the Navitimer designs, and you are fascinated by the rich aviation history of the Breitling brand. You prefer a new unused watch, and want to avoid the risks that come with buying a vintage wristwatch.

There are several options open to you.
Obviously you can go for a brand new Breitling. The Breitling name was revived again in 1982 by Ernest Schneider from the Sicura firm. Ever since they have produced new watches, some of which are in design at least close to the original and carry the Breitling Navitimer name. The Breitling company has successfully tried to move upmarket, and both the quality and price are in a different league then the originals were.
You might want to have a look at Sinn. Helmut Sinn bought the rights to the Navitimer design, and the Sinn company still has a few models in their line-up that are closely related to the Navitimer. In some ways you might argue that Sinn is closer to the philosophy of the original Breitling company, in the sense that they focus on technical improvements, and try to keep the price modest. Their Navitimer derivative is more a tool watch, like the Navitimer was once meant to be.



If you want to stay closer to the original, and you don't need the technical improvements that were made in the last 35 years, there are still a few options left.
You could buy a NOS original Breitling from Old World Jewellers in the US, but there are only a few Navitimer models left, and prices are very high.
Finally there's O&W. If you can live without the Breitling print on the dial, this is probably as close as you can get to the original Navitimer. It's basically a brand new watch made from original parts. In several ways, these Aviation's are more closely related to the much loved 60's/70's Navitimer's then the present day Breitlings are.

For more information on O&W in general, you can visit the Ollech & Wajs Forum here on WUS.

Should you require more information on how to buy an Aviation, you can contact O&W directly by e-mail on this address: [email protected]

Ron.
 
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