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Breitling collector and historian, Fred Mandelbaum, talks about design integrity and the TLC his watches get

Breitling collector and historian, Fred Mandelbaum, talks about design integrity and the TLC his watches get

The Breitling Navitimer, an icon since 1952, has simply gone by way of an replace. However the brand new watch is acquainted — sustaining its round slide rule, baton indexes and notched bezel. The three chronometers on the watch face are additionally maintained. What has modified then? Fred Mandelbaum, who runs the favored Instagram account, @watchfred, the place he showcases his non-public assortment, elaborates. “What the design group did right here, was once more, return to the historical past — take a look at the essence and the supply of each element of the unique watch after which reinterpret it.” The Austria-based collector of classic chronographs is now working intently with the Breitling group on this new mannequin.

Navtimers produced between 1963 and 1973

Navtimers produced between 1963 and 1973

Nothing is similar

“There’s not a single element on this watch that’s the identical because it was once up to now,” he goes on to say, including, “What we did was take a look at the class of the case profile, of the lugs, the chamfering, the sharpening that the unique had and we took probably the most trendy manufacturing capability accessible and utilized them to the brand new watch.” The ultimate design then, makes the watch extra readable. A brand new dome has been created out of sapphire, the place beforehand it was fabricated from acrylic. The calibre has been refined, the watch has, as Mandelbaum says, been given, “the deepest consideration to element.”

The brand new launch, which is available in chrome steel or 18k pink gold, is accessible throughout three sizes (41, 43 and 46mm) and sees the AOPA wings return to the 12 o’clock place. The Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01 continues to energy the motion and contains a slimmer silhouette together with alternating polished and brushed ending to the steel.

Navitimer Rattrapante

Navitimer Rattrapante

Soul-saving duties

Mandelbaum has been given the title of ‘Guardian of the Heritage’ by George Kerns, the CEO of Breitling. It’s because Mandelbaum has taken on the function of, “discussing design traits and the soul of sure fashions with the design group. I’m working rather a lot on historic details, on documenting the previous and constructing a secure foundation for the corporate to work on and be assured of its heritage.”

He’s capable of contribute meaningfully due to his private eye and the depth of his assortment. Whereas he doesn’t reply when requested what number of watches he has, he says, “I made a decision to attempt to doc each execution and mannequin of chronographs that Breitling manufactured after the yr 1940.” Consequently, he says, “it’s not the amount that’s related however how full it’s in protecting the heritage of a model,” which in his case is Breitling. As well as, he collects chronographs from manufacturers like Excelsior Park, Enicar, Common Geneva and pilot’s watches issued to armed forces. The watches are saved in a safe vault in a financial institution, and Mandelbaum says, “As I’m carrying lots of my watches, or all of my watches truly, I ensure they’re operating and they’re maintained. I do know the service historical past of [every] watch.” He provides that he usually modifications his watch about 2-3 instances every week.

A Breitling Navitimer advertisement from 1964

A Breitling Navitimer commercial from 1964

Are new collectors completely different?

The pandemic put a pause on in-person watch collector assembly, which Mandelbaum hopes will return. He says, “There was rather a lot misplaced, little question about it,” when talking about assembly fellow collectors and consumers. He does permit although that there’s a new breed of collector explaining, “Too typically watches are seen as an funding merchandise, which is one thing that I don’t actually respect an excessive amount of.” Nonetheless, he tempers that with an admission that there’s extra openness amongst collectors for, “new children on the block,” whereas stating that the independents have actually modified they usually’re making fascinating area of interest merchandise.

Teasing a reminiscence

What then is a watch that Mandelbaum is ready so as to add to his assortment. With a glint in his eye, seen behind his rimless spectacles he says, “There may be one watch that’s seen in a listing from 1946 however we’ve by no means seen it in steel, so we don’t know if it was ever produced or if it was solely a design displayed in a listing after which they determined it was too costly and it was simply by no means actually made.” He refers to this mannequin as “a theoretic Rattrapante double chronograph with moon part,” is one which he’s looking out for.


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