Breitling Top Time Cal.178 1965


100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Inspected, Serviced & Guaranteed

A Carefully Owned and Lightly Used Example

Original, Unrestored and Untouched Silver, Triple Register Dial

Fully Original Dial, Movement and Case All in Tip-Top Condition

Oversized 38mm Stainless Steel Case, Excluding the Correct Signed Crown

Spectacular Breitling Chronograph Cal.178, 17 Jewel Hand-Wound Movement

High Quality Black Leather Strap and Plain Stainless Steel Buckle

Fully Signed Breitling Watch Case, Movement & Dial

High Quality Double Watch Leather Pouch Included

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

Sold 1st June '23
VGW Reference: BRE1139s
Price £3,500 Sold


Out of stock

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Breitling SA was founded in Saint-Imier by Léon Breitling in 1884. The company’s mechanical or quartz movements are chronometer certified by the COSC and are usually marketed towards either diving (SuperOcean) or aviation (Navitimer). Aviation models offer aviation functions largely as complications, since their function in aviation has largely been replaced by modern electronic instruments. The styling of Breitling watches consists of polished cases, bracelets, and large watch faces for improved readability. Many models have an automatic winding mechanism with complications.


Here we have a truly immaculate example of a Breitling Top Time Chronograph with an original, unrestored and untouched silver dial. Every aspect of this watch is simply stunning. The freshly service calibre 178 hand wound movement, the original silver dial and the sturdy stainless steel extremely large, 38mm case, all add remarkable flare and class when on the wrist.

This watch is exceptional, not only for is quality, size and condition, but also due to the fact that it is completely original, unrestored and untouched.

The Dial

Often, chronograph dials can be overly busy and consequently difficult to read, but this is one of the most elegant and simple we have seen on any chronograph. It is beautifully symmetrical, well balanced and well proportioned. The dial itself in silver contrasts wonderfully with the stainless steel case, original ‘stick’ hands and ‘baton’ hour indices and is signed with the correct period Breitling signature. In essence, this is a highly sophisticated and highly elegant dial.

The dial carries an outer tachymeter scale which can be used to compute speed, based on travel time, or measure distance based on speed. The subsidiary dial at 3 counts elapsed minutes, up to 30, while the chronograph function is running. The subsidiary dial at 6 counts elapsed hours, up to 12, while the chronograph function is running.  The subsidiary dial at 9 counts seconds irrespective of if the chronograph is running. These give the dial a slightly technical look, but by no means excessively so.

This dial is correctly signed with ‘Breitling’ and ‘Geneve’ at the very top of the dial below 12, along with ‘Top-Time’ at the bottom of the dial above 6 with ‘Swiss Made’ just below.

As this dial is original and unrestored, we have elected to leave this untouched by our restoration team. Usually, we restore the dials of the watches we sell, however we decided in this case to leave it alone, due to its unusually good condition and to retain its originality and charm for those who prefer this. It also helps to contrast with almost all of the other watch dials you see on our website, which have been restored. The hands, likewise, have also been left in their original condition.

Please note, studio lights, professional-grade digital cameras, and macro lenses can be very unkind to an unrestored vintage watch dial. Also the dial here measures less than 1.25 inches across, so the image you’re seeing may be between 5 – 25 times larger than the watch itself. Therefore please keep in mind you are seeing many tiny flaws which cannot be seen, or will be very hard to see with the naked eye, even under close examination. Suffice to say, on the wrist, in natural light, this dial looks much better and carries a great deal more charm than the photographs portray.

The Movement

As can be seen, the movement is amazingly clean and well cared for. Generally speaking, a watch movement of this age will begin to show some tarnishing on some of its surfaces caused by moisture. However, this movement has been kept in tip-top condition through regular servicing and proper care and attention. Again, along with the condition of the rest of the watch, the movement indicates this watch has been treated with all the proper care it deserves.

The original Breitling signed Calibre.178, 17 Jewel hand wound movement is simply outstanding. This Breitling movement runs at 28,800 beats per hour which is much faster than typical high quality Swiss movements, which run at 18,000 beats per hour – hence it is known as a ‘fast-beat’ movement. All other things being equal, the faster a watch movement beats and the balance wheel operates, the more accurate its timekeeping since the movement effectively divides time into smaller increments.

This movement has been given a thorough overhaul and service by our vintage chronograph specialist watchmaker. This means the movement has been completely disassembled, cleaned, inspected and rebuilt using only the correct original parts where required before careful calibration and testing. Upon returning to stock, the watch is now running to within +10 seconds per day which is truly outstanding for any vintage watch of this age! When fully wound, this movement has a 45 hour power reserve. We therefore have no hesitations in offering this watch with our 12 months’ warranty*

With proper care and attention, we can see this watch lasting another lifetime of faithful service.

The movement is correctly signed with ‘Breitling Watch Co’, ‘Seventeen 17 Jewels’ along with the calibre number 178.

Please note – It is important to remember that after the chronograph function can be started through the operation of the top button, it should be stopped with the same button and then reset with the bottom button after use. i.e. the chronograph function is not designed to be left running as this will cause unnecessary increased wear.

*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the full list price is paid.

The Watch Case

This wonderful example of a Breitling Top Time measures an extemely large 38mm, excluding the correct signed crown. The case is of a heavy, sturdy three-piece design and carries pleasing swept-back lugs. Importantly, it is of full thickness, having never been engraved and is also tight-fitting, pressing back with a nice solid and reassuring ‘pop’.

The most remarkable aspect of this case, apart from its rarity, is its condition. It is simply superb. From each and every viewpoint it is very difficult to fault, with no signs of scratches, dings or damage visible to the naked eye. After cleaning and careful inspection for integrity, and then some very gentle hand-polishing, the case was very quickly brought back to the condition you see here.

The inside of the case back is correctly signed with ‘Breitling Watch LTD’ and ‘Swiss’ along with the case serial number 1068768.

Please note – our standard advice applies: Vintage Watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.

The Strap and Buckle

The watch is fitted with a high quality black leather strap and stainless steel buckle, which we feel suits the watch perfectly. If, however, a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown burgundy and black straps in stock, in plain, padded leather, alligator, crocodile or lizard skin.

Box and Papers

Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to 1965.

Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.

This watch comes complete with a double watch leather pouch.

Payment and Delivery

If you would like to pay by bank transfer, we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Paying by bank transfer for a 3% saving will not affect your 12 months warranty. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.

Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and, unfortunately, out of our control.

We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges; however, attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.

For those who happen to visit London on occasion, we are, of course, more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and hand your watch directly to you there.

As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no-quibble sale or return policy.

In Conclusion

This is a wonderful, fully original Breitling Top Time wristwatch, which is in wonderful condition and comes with the peace of mind that comes with a mixed stainless steel cased vintage watch which is, of course, more than sturdy enough for everyday use.

A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We, therefore, consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.

Please note, we also welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or a small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.

We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.

If you have any questions please call us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.

Please take a look at our other fine vintage watches.

Thank you.