1. The very first ‘pre 806’ Navitimers have all-black registers and feature only the AOPA ‘wings’ logo without the manufacturer’s name. Many subsequent issues to AOPA members continued to be made in this way. This model c.1959 sold for HK$90,000 (£9000) by Phillips Hong Kong (26% buyer’s premium) on June 5-6, 2021, was in well-preserved condition and came complete with its original presentation box and accessories. This particular watch has the coveted ‘beads of rice’ bezel. These early Navs have more ‘beads’ than later issues.
2. When the watch was launched publicly in 1956, the Breitling brand appeared alongside the wings, first in gold ‘Cursive B’ script and then in conventional capital letters. Under the ‘bonnet’ was the new Venus 178 manually-wound chronograph movement which remained in use until the early 1970s. This early 1960s example was sold online by Fieldings (24% buyer’s premium) in Stourbridge on December 8, 2022, for £4200. It came with a range of ephemera including factory instructions and a jeweller’s price list that includes this all-steel Navimeter at £42. At the time the SuperOcean was £53.
3. The major change to the dial arrived in 1963 when a redesign included the arrival of the white-on-black or ‘reverse panda’, the dropping of some numerals in place of line markers and the introduction of the ‘twin jet’ logo. The majority of cases were produced in stainless steel although a small number were produced with gold-plated cases, and an even smaller number in 18ct gold. This gold plated on steel 806 Navitimer c.1964 took £3200 online at Cheffins (24.5% buyer’s premium) of Cambridge on November 24, 2022.