My love of watches is apparent from even a cursory read of this blog. I’m always looking to add to my roster of timepieces, especially where I feel I have a gap. My current obession is a series of vintage watches from legendary Swiss watchmaker Breitling. For me, the mid-to-late ’60’s examples from the relatively short-lived ‘Top Time’ line of watches check all my personal watch aesthetic boxes: simple and elegant dial design (unlike the majority of modern Breitlings, whose dials I often find too busy); chronograph registers (earlier Top Times sport two chronograph registers, while later watches have three); a modern size (the ‘Jumbo’ size checks in at 39mm, which stands up well to modern watches and is only a single milimetre smaller than a Rolex Submariner); and finally, price. Many vintage Breitlings will set you back closer to $5,000 than $1,000. The Top Time hasn’t quite garnered the same amount of attention as the Navitimer or Chronomat lines (likely because these lines continue to exist to this day, whereas the Top Time died an untimely death) and I’ve seen examples sell for anywhere between $500 and $3500. The cheaper Top Times tend to have the ‘cushion’ style case (as pictured below, in middle), are older models (from the late ’50’s and early ’60’s, in the smaller 35mm size and made of stainless steel rather than white or yellow gold. The most expensive typically hail from the ’70’s, such as those on the far left and far right below, often sporting three chronograph registers.
For me, a 39mm, two-register, mid-60’s model with a “panda” dial (black with white chronograph registers) exactly like the one pictured above, keeps me up at night (usually trolling the classifieds section of watch sites trying to find one). With the wide variety of colours, case shapes, sizes and materials, the above may not be your first choice. Which is ok, because there’s something for everyone in the Top Time line (and in the vintage watch market in general). Click on the pictures below to make them larger.
To me, this is what loving watches is all about: the thrill of the chase. I’m sure other watch-loving readers can relate, and have their own “grail” watch in mind right now. Most importantly, if anyone knows the whereabouts of a watch like the one pictured above, please send me an email at: email@example.com. To sweeten the pot, if anyone can find such a watch (and I end up purchasing it), than I’ll hook you up with a $25 gift certificate to eBay, a Ralph Lauren Purple Label tie from my personal collection, and my eternal gratitude.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to add comments below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter, @oneguysstyle. For my earlier comprehensive post on watches, click here. For my recent post about NATO watch straps, click here.