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I finally took my recently acquired 1977 Iraq AF Chronomat (ref 1806) to a watchmaker and had it opened. It's all real with the proper Cal 12 movement. He said however, it needs to be serviced, and he wouldn't even think about doing it. The question is what are my options here? What will service cost through an AD? I noticed a place in Houston advertised on ebay that claims to do the service as prescribed by Breitling. Has anybody had experience with them or other servicers? Any advice is welcome.

 

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Well I have an Aerospace that went to BUSA for service and it came back it absolutely great condition. When I got it back it looked almost brand new. I was extremely satisfied with the service.
 

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It seems like a unique piece. Don't even think of going low-budget on getting it repaired. I just read a thread about a guy that sent his Rolex to a non-Rolex service center and they basically ruined his vintage watch. Price should be no object, go through Breitling...
 

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Contrary to what you may have been told, BUSA will not service vintage Breitlings.

BUSA will accept a vintage Breitling and then send it to Mark Heist's Horological Services (http://www.horologicalservices.com/).

Mark used to work for Breitling and his company has been specializing in the restoration and maintenance of vintage Breitlings for years. He is probably the best address for this kind of work.


Unlike BUSA; Breitling in Switzerland have a team of dedicated specialists dealing with vintage Breitlings, but having a watch sent there will take time and will not come cheap. They have serviced several of my vintage Breitlings, but the work took between two and three months and the costs were usually around $600 (2005 prices).

The caliber 12 in your 1806 is a fairly rare, unique and very complex movement and it speaks for your watchmaker when he suggests to have it serviced by someone who specializes in these movements. I once made the mistake of sending one of my 1809's to someone in the UK, who came highly recommended and who claimed he could perform this sort of work, only to have that person make a total mess out of it and force me to send the watch to Breitling in Grenchen, Switzerland after all. That taught me a lessson not to try to cut corners with vintage watches.

From the comments I have heard so far, Mark Heist would be the address where I would send my watch to if I lived in the USA.




Good luck.



Kurt
 
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