Introduced in 1975 with the specific intention to be a tool watch for the Italian Army’s helicopter pilots, the Breitling ref. 817 is a timepiece that indeed lives up to the billing as a watch intended for hard wear and rigorous use in the field. The ref. 817 was even used by the Battaglione Paracadutisti Carabinieri Tuscania and their platoon commanders. A regiment of elite soldiers, they would first be fully trained as Carabinieri (Military police) and then receive the training required to become paratroopers at the “Folgore” Paratroopers Brigade School in Livorno, Tuscany. Utilized in high-risk missions, they would hunt kidnappers, the mafia, and the infamous Camorra - an underground Italian criminal society. With only 500 pieces ever produced, most of which were destroyed during decommissioning, the Breitling ref. 817 is an incredibly rare watch that provides a tangible link between Breitling and their military-serving past.
Loupe This Scorecard
Vetted & Approved
Est. value range
$8,000 – $10,000
The overall condition is excellent. Dial appears to be untouched, and is in mint condition. Minute hand has a small crack through the luminous. Bezel has surface abrasions throughout. Case is in mint condition with sharp edges. Caseback still has the number clearly visible. Stretch band fits a 7+ inch wrist comfortably.
A special piece of Italian military history and Breitling's heritage too, the ref. 817 is a rare watch to find, and particularly in the condition our example is here.