We all have to occasionally lament the one that got away. No, I don’t mean significant others from years gone by. I mean vintage Breitlings. Three years ago I sold a 765 AVI and have regretted it every day since. I’ve easily forgotten Subs, Speedmasters, and even a Saxonia. But somehow this long forgetten gem has stayed at the front of my mind. Today, Bulang & Sons have brought just how wrong I was to let it go back to my attention. And it’s almost physically painful.
The 765 was an evolution of the French military’s Type XX. It grew to 41mm, the dial was lumed in tritium, and the subdials were inverted. The chronograph was intended to secure a French army contract, but the French wanted a flyback complication. So this reference was sold to through retailers instead. It is a purposeful design that never really had the chance to prove itself in conflict. But France’s loss was our gain. A 765 sitting in a shop caught the eye of one Raquel Welch, whose name has been inseparable with the reference ever since. It’s just all kinds of 60s cool.
The dial configuration is pure aviation. The chronograph sub is a 15-minute register as opposed to a 30-minute for timing a pre-flight check routine. I particularly love the five-spoke lumed plots inside that subdial. There’s nothing else like it. The movement is a modified Venus 178: a 18,000 vph hand-wound chronograph with a 45 hour power reserve. Additionally, its an aesthetic movement which shines every time the caseback is removed. If this 765 is calling your name, don’t plan its hold ever loosening.
This is certainly one of the most lauded and sought-after vintage chronographs Breitling ever produced. As such, the great examples are hard to come by. The example Bulang & Sons offer today is hard to fault. The gloss dial has strong original plots with relatively clean panda subs. The hands and still wholly lumed without cracks. Even the orange 12 chronograph market is intact. The crown isn’t even a service replacement, its the original signed B.
Find the 765 here from Bulang & Sons for 14900 EUR.