Breitling Genève, Top-Time, Ref. 810-24. Made in the 1970s. Fine, gold filled and stainless steel wristwatch with round button chronograph, registers and tachometer.
Case: Two-body, polished ,gold filled case and stainless steel back, lapidated lugs.
Dial: Sunray silver dial with applied gold indexes and tritium dots, auxiliary sunk black "guilloché" dials for the seconds, the 12 hours and 30 minutes registers, outer tachometer graduation. Bâton gold hands for the time, white for the subdials.
Movement: Caliber 178, copper-colored, 17 jewels, straightline lever escapement, monometallic balance, shock absorber, self-compensating flat balance spring.
Dial, case and movement signed
Diameter: 38mm Thickness: 13mm
One of the lesser-known models produced by Breitling, the Top Time was introduced in the 1960’s and was available in a wide variety of styles and many different dial and case combinations. It was advertised as the chronograph for young men with active pursuits (be it sporting or technological) and therefore was available with either a water-resistant or non-water-resistant case - cased in stainless steel, gold plating (with a stainless steel back), or 18k gold. Several dial combinations were available, including all silvered, black with silvered subdials, and silvered with black subdials. The customer could also specify which type of fixed bezel they would like – tachometer, pulsometer, or decimal. The Top Time was also produced with both a two-register chronograph and a three-register chronograph, some with 24-hour dial.
The Top Time model has an important place in pop culture, being the only other model of watch that Sean Connery wears as James Bond besides the Rolex Submariner. The Top Time was also the model of choice for car racer Jim Clark, who during his career won 25 Grand Prix races and two world championships.
The Top Time was well-received at the time, in part for all of the dial and case options available, and also for using respected and reliable Valjoux movements. Production lasted through the 1970’s, with many of Breitling’s more well-known models taking the center stage. Although often seen as an entry-level Breitling, they are preferred by many for the variety of styles, which allows them to cross between dress and sport.