Bring a Loupe: A Rare Military Breitling, A Funky Zenith El Primero, And Many Vintage Rolex

By Louis Westphalen

This week’s Bring A Loupe will be chronograph heavy. You will discover a very rare Breitling, manufactured for the Italian army, as well as two chronographs from Zenith, one featuring the iconic El Primero movement. Expect to also learn more about some incredible vintage watches from Rolex, starting with the unavoidable Daytona with Paul Newman dial, and concluding with a rare, early prototype of the Rolex Day-Date. This is your Bring A Loupe for October 30, 2015.

A Very Rare Breitling For The Italian Army, The Reference 817 CP-1 E.I

You may have never heard about the Breitling reference 817 CP-1 E.I, but this is one of those watches that serious collectors eagerly hunt for. Let’s first explain this intriguing reference from the mid-1970s: E.I stands for Esercito Italiano,or Italian Army, as the 817 was intended for the Italian helicopter pilots. And CP-1 is the military designation of the case size: this Breitling shares its stealth look with the famous Heuer Bund or the Zenith Cairelli, both CP-2, so logically the Breitling comes in a much smaller case, with a 39.5 mm diameter versus 42 mm for the Heuer. While the total production of reference 817 remains unknown very few have surfaced yet, especially with the original bracelet manufactured in Japan, of all places.

A British collector is offering one for sale here; the original box and bracelet are included.


A Zenith Medico-Compax In Yellow Gold

The pulsation scale explains the Medico-Compax name of this Zenith. It was indeed very useful for doctors to use the chronograph function in order to determine the heartbeat of a patient: here you would start the chronograph, count 15 pulse beats, and read on the scale the heart rate in beats per minute. This chronograph comes in a generous 37 mm case and features an in-house movement, the 146D caliber. The blued hands look really good with the yellow gold, and bring some shine to the well balanced dial – note, however, the slight aging on its upper part.

It is listed on the Chronocentric forum for 2,150 Euros or around $2,400 here.


A Funky Zenith With El Primero Movement, The Reference A385

Among mythical movements, the El Primero definitely deserves a mention as the first high-beat automatic chronograph caliber, back in 1969. It was first fitted in the highly attractive reference A386 with …read more      

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