Breitling Is The Best Value In Pre-Owned Watches
Have collectors forgotten about good ole Breitling?
We added some newness to the HODINKEE Shop Pre-Owned Watches selection this morning, so let’s dive into a few. A few by the brand with the cursive “B” logo that no one has spoken directly about since our expanded “gently used” section hit the site – even in our ever-loved comments section, there has been little Breitling discourse. Today, we change that.
Boasting a true heritage in genuine tool watch, dress watch, and flat-out watch production for over 135 years, Breitling is one of the more fascinating watch brands to study today. Here, we dive into a solid selection of what you can grab on the pre-owned market at some frankly stunning price points. Yeah, okay, we’re talking about thousands of dollars in watches, but everything is relative after all.
Let’s start out easy here with a couple of charming, stainless steel, and 44mm-case-diameter Breitling Colts. Under the reference A17388, we feel that the brand really had something here. While the modern Colt catalog has moved on, these watches remain on the pre-owned market at surprisingly low prices for what you get. That includes a stout yet surprisingly well-wearing case that we state at 12mm in thickness to be conservative but measure close to 11.3mm in practice, a chronometer-rated movement, and a well-fitting, both aesthetically and functionally, Breitling bracelet.
Compared to the rest of the catalog during this era of Breitling’s history, the Colt wears elegantly and frankly sleek. The overall feel of these watches on the wrist is long and thin, a welcome experience for the flying B. Uni-directional rotating bezels adorn both of these Colts with satisfying and audible clicks all the way around for when you’re bored at your desk. We’re pricing the pair right under $2,500, check them out here and here.
Seinfeld is back on Netflix and slowly entering the cultural discourse more and more as tastemakers and coworkers alike begin rewatches, alike. Jerry – that’s Seinfeld, his name in real life, as well, funnily enough – is a Breitling fan both in the show and in reality. In earlier seasons, mid- to high-single digits, Jerry often sports a 1990s Navitimer on a leather strap, as well as a Chronomat with a classically neo-vintage Breitling “bullet link” bracelet.
Jerry’s bracelet is what brings us to this J-Class Chrono. Yes, this is a quartz-powered watch. Yes, it’s two-tone. Yes, there are a few nicks and scratches here and there. Yes, it’s just working for us. The overall funk, from the anchor-adorned script “B” equipped chronograph seconds hand to the Seinfeld bracelet, comes together to make this very compelling for an entrée salad above $2,000 and a great size at 40mm case diameter, as well. Get the Jerry look, right here.
Under the same product line, at least by name, while being a stark departure from that first ref. 806 Navitimer is this time-only Navitimer 8. To us, this watch represents the new era of Breitling. Looking to the past in a slightly different manner, the newly appointed (at the time) Breitling CEO Georges Kern had the watch world waiting on bated breath for Baselworld in 2018. The headliner of the eventual first Kern collection was the Navitimer Super 8, a watch that HODINKEE both introduced to readers and took Hands-On.
The Super 8 kicked off an entirely new direction for the brand’s most recognizable model name where chronograph was traded in for chronometer and Breitling leaned into a flight-inspired, everyday-wearing time-only take on the Navitimer. This Navitimer 8 Automatic 41 is executed in DLC-coated steel or “blacksteel” and will forever be a part of Kern’s first stab at the future of Breitling – check it out here, all for under $3,000.
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