Breitling chronograph restoration

Case bezel machining, dial printing and hands fitting

Here we work with vintage 18K gold Breitling chronograph. The bezel is missing, dial tarnished and stained, both seconds hands are missing.

18K gold Breitling chronograph damaged dial
As is, does it have a potential to be beautiful and beloved timepiece?

The movement can be identified by 45-minute chronograph counter positioned at “12”. It’s famous Venus 170 calibre.

Breitling chronograph Venus 170 movement
Venus logo on the balance cock.

We will fully strip down and service the movement, but here in review we’ll focus on more complex problems like dial and case restoration.

New bezel machining

First of all we make a model of front bezel, based on actual case sizes.

New chronograph bezel modelling, it will be about 11 grams of gold.

The case and bezel making detailed process can be found in our Ulysse Nardin 14K gold making project.

The metal blank is being machined with 0,05 – 0,10 mm steps with frequent fitting to the actual case to ensure that it fits firmly and steady.

Watch case gold bezel making lathe
New bezel machining on small lathe.

Next step is crystal mounting and hands fitting. Hands fitting is quite not easy as we have to use about the same age and style hands, original vintage spares.

All fitted hands must striclty comply with three parameters:

  • Size
  • Style
  • Deep blue tone
Venus 170 Breitling chronograph
Vintage hands are fitted. Note Venus logo – star in shield, “170” calibre code.

Breitling chronograph dial printing

Stain and tarnish on this dial is not a kind of dust, it’s corrosion in lacquer layer. To get rid of those damages, we will have to wash off all the paint remains and make new print on the original dial plate.

Typical stages of dial restoration:

  1. Original dial scanning, retouching where it’s possible
  2. Precise computer modelling of dial layout – lines, numerals, indices, signatures
  3. Making typographic matrix for each layer printing
  4. Stripping off the dial plate, clean it down to the naked metal
  5. New galvanic base layer – silver plating
  6. Printing all layers of the dial, drying
  7. Protection varnish
Breitling chronograph dial restoration
We have newly printed dial on original vintage plate
Breitling chronograph dial
Extra attention to numerals style/thickness, markings layout thickness and positions

After the dial is ready, we can mount it and make some final adjustments.

18K gold Breitling chronograph, restored dial

Of course any original dial is more collectible than restored dial. We reprint the dials only in case of really significant damage, never recommend renewing the dial in basic restoration case.

Ready to be shipped to the customer.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us via e-mail, or via our Contacts page. We work in Bristol, United Kingdom.

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