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Breitling 1884 Automatic 38mm 300m 1000ft Steel Men’s Watch

Breitling 1884 Automatic 38mm 300m 1000ft Steel Men’s Watch

Breitling Automatic timepiece 

Only a few wristwatches can stand the true test of time as well as the Breitling 1884 Automatic watch. The Breitling Automatic is a timepiece that endured the real test of time in various ways. 

Over time, this wristwatch featured in various historical moments such as: 

  • World War II
  • The quartz crisis
  • Came back even after the brand went under

This Breitling 1884 Automatic timepiece survived all of these moments impressively. In fact, these moments shaped the Breitling Automatic into the iconic wrist watch it is today. Presently, Breitling 1884 Automatic watch stands out as one of the brand’s most distinguished and desirable pieces.

Breitling 1884 Automatic 

Furthermore, the brand made changes to the design of the 1884 Automatic timepiece. These modifications bring out that supreme all-purpose essence in the watch. More so, the timepiece reveals itself in an elegant and refined style.

In addition, there is a vast variety of distinct compositions of this wristwatch. The varieties don’t affect the watch’s status as one of the major products of Breitling’s catalog. 

Over time, the Breitling Automatic watch showed off multiple unique designs. Hence, over the years, the watch evolved from a tool watch for scientists to the present pilot’s watch. Perhaps, this is why it is one of the most notable Breitling timepieces of all time.

We hope to present a better feel of the uniqueness, prominence, and varying nature of this timepiece. Therefore, we must consider certain aspects of this timepiece. From the history to the parts and the overall sophisticated nature of the Breitling 1884 Automatic watch. Follow through!

The History Of The Breitling 1884 Automatic Men’s Watch

To understand the evolution of this timepiece, we must view its history in different lights. Taking out these different phases of the watch’s history will present a better view. That way, you get a feel of the various shades of luxury and refinement this watch presents. 

  • The History Of The Breitling Brand

The journey for Breitling all began in 1884. That year, Léon Breitling established the brand in St. Imier, Switzerland. Then, the main focus of the brand was on creating chronographs. 

So, by 1899, Breitling already received a patent for an easy-to-use chronograph pocket watch. More so, by 1892, the workshop already grew into a modern factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The factory, at the time, had 60 employees on its payroll.  

This wasn’t going to stop. The brand kept advancing in its strides. By the next decade, we witnessed major improvements in stopwatches and chronographs. In that period, there were also timers with tachymeter scales. These timers helped to gauge speeds. 

Additionally, there were pulso-meters to help doctors assess the pulse rates of their patients. You will agree that tool watches can never serve better than this.

Finally, the grandson of the founder, Willy Breitling took over the leadership of this firm. He continued his grandfather’s progress in the creation of chronographs. He proceeded to patent the world’s first wrist chronograph that featured two pushers. This would eventually set the tone for the Breitling Automatic watch’s introduction in 1940. 

It is even more interesting to know that all along, Willy also had his eyes on something else. He directed a part of the brand’s efforts towards developing timepieces for pilots and clocks for aircraft. 

Well, he had good customers. One of them was the British Royal Air Force. They patronized Breitling during WWII. More so, some of its fighter jets and bombers dressed up with Breitling dashboard clocks.

  • Welcome The Breitling Automatic Men’s Watch

The 1884 Automatic men’s watch remains one of Breitling’s earliest tool watches. However, the Breitling brand wished to further distinguish the timepieces from the rest of the pack. The plan was to have it stand out amongst other pilot’s watches produced in this period.

Breitling 1884 Automatic Men's watch

To achieve this, the brand directed its promotion towards the scientific world. So, professionals like engineers and mathematicians were the target audience. 

The actual Breitling Automatic watches came with slide rule bezels. More so, they were the earliest timepieces from the brand to show this unique feature. Over time, this feature became the trademark design component of the Navitimer line of watches.

From its launch till now, this watch featured several modifications. First, it was the first-ever automatic chronograph produced in the late 1960s. Then, there came the quartz version reigning through the infamous quartz crisis that rocked the 1970s. 

However, Breitling had its fair share of the quartz crisis effect like several other legacy watchmakers at the time. Business for the brand suffered impacts from the quartz crisis. No thanks to it, the company was up for sale in 1979. 

Thankfully, the company remained intact and came back into the watchmaking scene in 1980. This was, however, without the Breitling 1884 Automatic in its catalog. This went on until 1984.  And the comeback of the timepiece saw its focus now directed towards pilots. The scientists were no longer the focus.

Regardless, the Breitling 1884 Automatic remains one of Breitling’s most celebrated timepieces. It is inarguably one of the brand’s constant best sellers. Breitling even proceeded to give the line another upgrade in 2004. That brought us, the watch’s Evolution in 2004. Then in 2009, the watch brought back the Caliber B01; Breitling’s first completely in-house movement.

Dial Features Of The Breitling Automatic

Presently, we have two major varieties of dials featured on the Breitling Automatic men’s watch. 

  • First, is the chronograph dial featuring three sub-dials positioned at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. 
  • Then, there is the modest time-and-date dial. This one comes with baton indexes plus a date window set at the 6-o’clock position. 

For the chronograph dial, you can only find it on Breitling’s bigger Automatic timepieces. All of these timepieces presently come in 42mm case sizes.

  • The Complicated Chronograph Dials

Over time, the Breitling 1884 Automatic watch stands distinct thanks to its complicated chronograph dials. In fact, the very first Breitling Automatic from the 1940s came with two sub-dials at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions.

More so, you find a very unusual Breitling Automatic watch made in 1946. This watch features an extra 12-hour sub-dial. Nevertheless, these two register styles mainly stayed all through the 1950s. During this period, the watch experienced an impressive rise in fame. 

Breitling Automatic wristwatch

Finally, in the 1960s, it got some slight updates. These came in as an arrow marker set at the 12 o’clock position. More so, there was the very first Automatic Chronomat produced in that period. This features a bolder dial.

The dials came in two forms. There was the black dial with silvered or white sub-registers and outer scale. Also, there was another with a white dial and an outer scale featuring black sub-registers. Overall, both editions also come with radiant red accents.

  • The End Of The Chronograph Era

However, by the 1970s a huge change happened to the dials. The dials now completely excluded the chronograph subdials. This was as the watch was no longer a chronograph timepiece. Hence, all three models created during this period came with the Chronomat slide rule. Yet, they had no longer had a Chronograph function.

Now, the dials came with slender hour tags and streamlined faces. When the 1980s came, this timepiece had a facelift under Breitling’s new ownership. Then, the chronograph subdials came back. Although, it now appeared at the 6, 9, and 12 positions. Plus, the date window appeared at the 3-o’clock position. 

  • Dial Colors

Considering the dial colors, several changes came with the last long years. Majorly, the dials of the Breitling 1884 Automatic took different shades. First, it was blue, then black, then white or cream. 

Additionally, the Breitling Automatic also came in green. Then, there was the very unique, yellow ‘FOR AMERICA’ variety. The latest collection features a killer mint dial in the time-and-date versions. Finally, there are other excellent options like blue, silver, white, and black.

Case And Bezels Features Of The Breitling 1884 Automatic Wristwatch

Presently, there are three different case sizes featured in the new Breitling 1884 lineup. They include:

  • 32mm
  • 36mm
  • 42mm. 

Formerly, you find Breitling Automatic timepieces with case sizes being as huge as 49mm. One of such is the very first ‘big case’ Breitling Automatic Chronomat versions. In recent years, the size of this timepiece rose to 47mm. You can find that in the Limited Edition Jet Team GMT MB04108P/BD76.

Nevertheless, the actual size of the 1884 Automatic is a subtle 36mm. This size was reasonably fit for that era when most men’s timepieces mostly came between 34mm to 36mm.

Generally, the case materials used for the Breitling 1884 Automatic are either stainless steel or gold. You can also get it in two-tone gold and stainless steel. Still, Breitling gave the materials and updates earlier. This is similar to what you find on the GMT.

The GMT employs a brushed-black stainless steel case. That adds a modern and tactical air. As for the bezels, the metal mostly fits with the case. The only time it doesn’t is when it’s a two-tone. And in such cases, the bezel often comes in gold coverings.

The current bezels are unidirectional. They also come with 5 and 15-minute markers. These appear on the non-chronograph models of the timepiece as well as the chronograph versions. However, some come with extra minute markers that appear in the first and last 15-minute increments.

Bracelet Features Of The Breitling 1884 Automatic Watch 

Presently, the recent Breitling Automatic bracelets come with an added impression that is removable. With this, you enjoy a seamless styling and layout from the case down to the strap. 

In addition, the metal bracelets come in various ranges. They include:

  • Stainless steel
  • Two-tone 
  • Solid gold 

That way, they easily fit with the cases of the timepieces they work with. More so, the modern generation captions the collection’s trademark “Rouleaux” bracelet. This bracelet has a special feature in its elegantly circular links.

Additionally, you also get a number of these models that come furnished with leather straps. Not strange as that was the established bracelet of the Breitling 1884 Automatic watch. It only stopped being so in the 1970s. This was when the brand started manufacturing quartz models that featured integrated bracelets.

Breitling iconic wristwatch

That change came so the brand can remain up to date with the fashion of the time. Hence, right from the moment, the 1884 Automatic made its return in the 1980s, metal bracelets came in.

Movement Features Of The 1884 Automatic 

In the past years and decades, Breitling watches got updates and upgrades. One of such growths was the brand outfitting the 1884 Automatic with a mixture of several movements. Here is a compilation of virtually all the movements the Breitling Automatic featured since its inception.

  • Venus 175

It appeared in the early 40s in the 1884 Automatic. It is signed and featured 17-jewels alongside a center chronograph hand that recorded seconds. Then, a minute chronograph register set at the 3-o’clock position. It had recording abilities of up to 45 minutes. Then, there is a running seconds hand set on the 9 o’clock subdial.

  • Venus 178

It hit the scene along with the very exclusive 3-register subdial versions made in the 1940s.

  • Venus 184

This movement came in the Breitling Moon Phase timepiece. It sat pretty at the top of the line at the time. It gave power to a 3-register model comprising a date complication and, a moonphase.

  • Venus 175: 

It appeared in the watch’s ref.808, ref. 769​ and the ref. 818. with the big case

  • Valjoux 7733

Here is the movement in the ref. 818 timepiece made in the close years of the 1970s.

  • Caliber 11/12

This movement appeared in the first automatic ‘big case’ Breitling. It was a newly assembled “Chrono-matic” micro-rotor movement. Here is the Caliber 11.  Then came slight alterations a year later. That led to its new name, the Caliber 12. 

Others include:

  • Valjoux 7740
  • Quartz
  • Valjoux 7750
  • Breitling 13
  • Breitling B01

Presently, Breitling employs the Superquartz Caliber 77 in its 32mm timepieces. Then, there comes the automatic Caliber 10 in the 36mm editions. Finally, there is the automatic Caliber 01 outfitted in the 42mm. What makes all of them stand out is that they are in-house movements.


The Breitling Automatic is a display of class, function, and aesthetics made to fit varieties. Regardless of your preferences, this timepiece can be the perfect watch for you.


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