Breitling Duograph

Breitling Duograph

Breitling Duograph Introduction
Split-seconds (rattrapante) are one of the most advanced wristwatch complications, and vintage split-seconds offerings are exceedingly rare. In this section we delve into the Breitling Duograph, a family of split-second wristwatches first produced in 1944, building upon the release of the Premier the prior year. The Duograph family is comprised both the two-register references 762 (non-waterproof), 764 and the 783, as well as the three-register references 766 (non-waterproof) and 791. The two and three-register references utilize the Venus 179 and Venus 185, respectively. This survey includes all combinations of case material, stainless steel and gold, and pusher design, both rectangular and round. [1]

I have found just over a dozen of the most common Breitling Duograph references, and only a handful of the least common. Of these, I have found an extremely high percentage of Duographs that are not in original condition, with swapped hands, dials, cases, casebacks, movement parts, and crowns. While a curiously high number of Duographs are a mixture of components from different timepieces (Breitling or otherwise), with figures so low, it is difficult to say with certainly what attributes are original to a specific piece. However, when we look at the set of known pieces overall we can see when watches do not appear correct – hand design or color, dial, case, movement, and so on.

Given such low production volume of the Duographs it is possible that we see attributes only on a single watch. When making purchase decision, you should consider whether you feel comfortable in how it compares to others known, and, if you may resell it one day, will you have to explain any, ahem, “unique characteristics” of the watch (I prefer not to have to do so).

[1] Breitling Heritage
Breitling Duograph Serial Number Project

Below is an aggregation all of the vintage Breitling Duograph I have found of any reference. Please keep in mind that, as with other research projects, there can be franken/fake pieces on this list. Those pieces I will discuss in greater depth in the Fake Breitling Duograph section.

Serial number ranges I have seen for the Breitling Duograph: 510xxx – 1354xxx, corresponding to roughly 1944 to 1970. The range above is limited due to few of these pieces known, and of those known, many are without visible serial number. My understanding is that Breitling started keeping production records in 1944, with the ability with a serial number to provide reference, case material, and calibre. It appears that there were no records kept of different execution dials or other traits of the watch, such as hands, pushers, etc. While Breitling used sequential serial numbers, you would have different references immediately following each other, and production batches of the same reference split over different years. Further, it sounds that information was lost when Breitling was sold in 1979 to Ernest Schneider. There is information in Benno Richter’s book “Breitling: The History of a Great Brand of Watches 1884 to the Present“, though forums recognize that while this work contributes to our understanding, there are errors. Not surprising, however, as the 1946 catalog alone had 250 different watches, mainly chronographs. And that number makes it even more difficult to determine what may be genuine.

The watches represented on each row in the table below are intended to be unique, though given serial numbers are often not shown for images, the same watch may appear multiple times. I do my best to use visual cues to pair the same watch posted at different times. When the serial number can’t be established, I give the timepiece a unique ID (based on any part that is known, plus a related date posted).

If you see any duplicates, errors, or if you know of others to include, please contact me with a link and/or images and serial number if available.

Caveats:
Description of pieces are generally based upon public images/video. For some detail, I do not have images and have to rely on text descriptions from the individual posting the timepiece. Some elements are often difficult to determine from pictures, including color of hands, for example if the register hands are black or blue. If I have a 50-50 guess, I leave the detail as “unknown.”

While I attempt to link to images, often the images are removed from the reference website, or they are in a format that cannot be processed, and no picture will be displayed in the table. Please use the URL link for images, if available.

As with the rest of this Website, the following table, and data contained therein, is subject to Alpha Hands LLC Terms and Conditions

Breitling Duograph Serial Project

The above table, and data contained therein, is subject to Alpha Hands LLC Terms and Conditions

Fake Breitling Duographs

As noted in the Brietling Duograph Introduction, a significant number of pieces have issues and are not original. Depending on the feedback I receive, I may either add a comment section to this page, or add comments (with user permission).

We see issues generally in a few key areas:
– Dial (including but not limited to incorrect ‘TOP TIME’ or ‘PREMIUM’ dials, as well as dials which should include the ‘DUOGRAPH’ text)
– Hands
– Case

While questionable pieces appear on a number of sites, there is quite a bit of discussion on the internet on the ‘Breitling Museum’. This website is not affiliated with Breitling, and rather is maintained by a seller of Breitlings. Negative views of this site (and owner, Herbert Michael Marz, who goes by names TheSage/schroeder/alex/PREMIUMWATCH/TOPWEBSELLS, depending on site) can be found in a variety of forums:
The Collection of a Crook / Lunatic (chronocentric),
The Many Fakes of Herbert Michael Marz (chronocentric)
Breitling lounge.. cq Michael M… (Breitling Source)
Warning for Breitling Fakes… (Uhren Forum)
PREMIUMWATCH/ TOPWEBSALES organized scam system on eBay (Breitling Source).< - Expertise in Breitling watches (Luxify R-L-X)
Strange things from the bay (UHRFORUM)
….offers from Mr. Herbert Michael Maerz (PhilaStaten.de)

Rebranded Breitling Duographs

I’m not sure what I should rightly call the title of this section, but here we look at pieces that have many of the characteristics of Duographs, but that have been sold by brands other than Breitling. I would surmise that these watches were manufactured by Breitling and sold as a part of marketing or other joint venture arrangements by the other companies.

Breitling Duograph 762
Examples:
1. Grana 762, serial 609277
2. Lebois 762, serial 6092xx
These watches have both kept the same ‘762’ reference number on their cases, and also retain a serial number that we would expect to see on the Duograph. We also see the Grana and Lebois with the same steel case, pushers, crown, same caseback stamping style, and both utilizing the Venus 179.
While we do not see ‘Breitling’ script on the balance cock for these watches, at least the Grana appears to have work done to remove material where the text would be found.

Grana (L, image:Christies) and Lebois (R)

Breitling Duograph 766
Example:
1. Mervos 766, serial 544×72/669×5
We see other Mervos-branded watches manufactured by Breitling, and with this split-second we see the similarities to other Duograph 766. The Mervos appears to have retained the Breitling stamping for the Duograph (544×72 and 766) on the caseback, but also we faintly see another number, 669×5, which I assume is the Mervos serial. The Mervos uses a similar gold case, pushers, crown, and hands. The Venus 185 movement is double-signed, with ‘Breitling’ script on the balance cock as we see for the Duograph, and the addition of ‘MERVOS’ rather crudely stamped (and with red coloring) onto the chronograph wheel bridge.

Mervos 766 Split-Second (Image: Matthew Bain)

Other
I’m filing this one as “other” right now. This watch is branded on the dial as Singer, and Pinterest website text notes that it contains a Breitling movement. My assumption is that this watch actually has the Venus 179 movement, with ‘Bretiling’ script on the balance cock. I have not been able to find any other images of this timepiece.

Singer 2-register (Image: Pinterest)

Breitling Duograph Advertisements

Below are a selection of Breitling Duograph advertisements. If I can find better images I will add. Feel free to contact me with any additional advertisements or better quality images that you have available.

[in process – will be up shortly!]

Breitling Vintage Catalogs

Attached is a vintage Breitling catalog from 1946. This catalog includes a couple of pages for the Breitling Duograph, which are also shown separately below.

[in process – will be up shortly!]