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How to authenticate a Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante B03

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    Introduction how to authenticate a Breitling

    Recently here at the Relleb authentication center, we had the opportunity to perform our Authentication and Quality assessment for one of my personal favorites - a Breitling Navitimer. More specifically the Breitling Navitimer B03, which is a Chronograph Rattrapante and one of watchmaking's most elaborate complications. The rattrapante (from the French word "rattraper" meaning to "catch up") function with two superimposed central chronograph hands enabling it to measure two elapsed times simultaneously. A fantastic toolwatch originally designed for -and still used today by- the Aviation industry.

    The Breitling Navitimer is unmistakenly and undoubtedly one of the most iconic and best sold models of Breitling. And unfortunately where there are companies such as Breitling achieving results, there are malicious individuals or organisations that want to leech off those successes... There are known to be very convincing replica Breitling watches out there - making the Relleb Authentication and Quality assessment for our customer (from Swiss in this case, so you could say the Prodigal Son is returning home :)) particularly relevant and important.  

    We hope this blog will help you get a better feeling and understanding what to look out for when assessing the authenticity a luxury watch, including the set in case it is included. Please note that this article is not exhaustive, as there are a lot of nuances and specific aspects that we check in addition to the checks which we have included below. But this would require a great more level of detail in this blog, and we will probably loose you somewhere halfway when reading this. In case you might be interested to learn more or if you have additional questions, then do not hesitate to contact us at info@relleb.com or call us. 

    Now lets get to some details and checks we have performed on this particular Breitling Navitimer B03.

    The Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante B03

    This watch carries the following specifics:

    • Reference number AB031021/BF77/761P/A20D.1
    • Case size 45mm
    • Time and Chronograph function
    • Oystercase
    • Black dial
    • Steel bezel
    • Stainless steel case and bracelet
    • Full set (box and papers included)
    • Issued in 2020
    • Movement: B03 Chronograph

    In this blog we will explain in 5 steps how we authenticated this Breilting Navitimer B03, and will show you based on detailed pictures the level of scrutiny you can expect when engaging Relleb to perform an Authentication and Quality assessment for a watch you might be keen on buying. 

    How to spot a fake Breitling Navitimer

    The Breitling Navitimer is a beloved watch among enthusiasts and unfortunately also amongst scammers. Fake Breitling Navitimer watches, both new and vintage, are entering the market in a rapid pace. Since it is so widely known and coveted by the average watch wearer, it is easy for criminals to pull of a scam with these watches.

    It can be easy to spot a fake. But only an experienced watchmaker can distinguish a real one. If you don't have the experience or knowledge, it is hard to distinguish a real from a fake yourself. And although we are more than convinced you should have a Breitling watchmaker authenticate your Breitling. We hope this blog will give you some insights in how to spot a fake Breitling.

    Step 1: check the box and papers

    The first step in the authentication process of this Breitling Navitimer is to check if the box and papers that are included and correct. Meaning that the documentation (and references / serial numbers) are in accordance with the watch at hand, and if the box and papers are original and time-correct. Please note that not all pre-owned watches that are sold online might contain original box and papers, especially for example with vintage watches. This of course does not necessarily have to mean that the watch itsself is fake or incorrect, but it does definitely help to look at the total-package.

    Fot this Breitling Navitimer, all original papers and box were includes, so we first scrutinized these to see if all was correct and in accordance with our expectations for this particular model. 

    The box and cards

    This Breitling Navitimer issued in 2020 comes with a blue outer box, and smaller brown leather pouch in which the watch is included. We always start our authentication service checking if we have a full-set (if sold as a full set) and if we have the right boxes and papers by performing the following steps:

    • Check if we have the correct outer box, which is the box that carries the watch (in this example for a 2020 Breitling Navitimer the outer blue box that carries the Breitling Logo on the top)
    • Validate if the authentic Breitling card pouch is present (a wallet that carries the cards including warranty card)
    • Validate if the authentic Breitling warranty card is present (most important card that also carries the serial number)
    • Validate if the authentic Breitling instructions booklet is present, in this case specifically for the Rattrapante 
    • How to authenticate a the full set: Our watchmakers have more than 15 years of experience in working with Breitling (at authorized dealers) and of course other brands, and know what materials and documentation should be included in the full set, including of what materials the set should be made of and -I kid you not- even how it feels and smells. A good watchmaker can derive a lot from the full set apart from the watch itsself - and might already be able to raise some flags in some cases. 
    • Check of the Breitling digital warranty card: Any person having purchased a Breitling watch or chronograph from an authorized Breitling retailer can claim cover under the international warranty by showing the electronic Breitling international warranty card to any authorized Breitling retailer or distributor, as well as to any authorized Breitling service center. The warranty card includes the Model name, reference, serial number, name of the retailer, activation date as well as the international warranty length. Our watchmakers know what type of (digital) card to expect for specific watches, and what should be included in/on it.

    Breitling authentication: Breitling Navitimer B03 Rattrapante Full Set

    Step 2: How to authenticate a Breitling Rattrapante serial number

    Serial numbers are used for every Breitling watch and are unique numbers used by Breitling to track all individual watches, including this Breitling Navitimer B03 Rattrapante. 

    In case of a full set we perform the following checks:

    • Observe the serial number on the case (in this case on the back of the watch, on the case)
    • Check if the serial number on the Warranty card matches the serial number on the case 
    • Check if the serial number of the warranty card and the case back matches with the serial number on the movement
    • During our inspection of the movement, we also verify and assess if the parts in the movement are of a level of quality that we would expect from a Breitling watch. For example, the level of finishing, details of the engraving, smoothness and crispness of the movement (depending on age, one might anticipate some requirements for servicing), and other details that confirm this watch only consists of original Breitling parts. This is basically shown by the quality of the engraving that can only be concluded by an experienced watchmaker with years of experience with Breitling watches.

    Breitling authentication: Serial number on the case back should match with the number on the movement.

    Step 3: How to authenticate a Breitling B03 Chronograph movement

    What is particularly interesting and also important to verify when we are dealing with a Rattrapante model, is to verify if the movements if conistent with the complications you would expect, which was in this case indeed fully correct. An interesting detail Breitling added on this particular movement is an engraving of "B03", typical to this Rattrapante model:

    Our experienced watchmakers observe the following during step 3 of our authentication service:

    • Verify if all components are Breitling parts (by observing quality of finishing, Breitling branding, use of Breitling fonts, use of correct materials)
    • Make sure the complications and build up of the movement are correct (e.g. in this case time and B03 chronograph function)
    • We also authenticate if the watch carries the correct movement by validating the movement number B03 is engraved on the movement
    • Observe if the lubrication of parts is up to standards (and lubricate if needed)
    • No dirt or damage to movement parts
    • We also verify if the watch is serviced or if it needs service. We advise our clients if and when a watch should be serviced again. In this case we are talking about a 2020 watch, for which you would under normal circumstances not expect a service to be needed already (which was indeed not the case).

    Breitling authentication: B03 engraved on the movement, which is typical and also important feature of this specific model.

    Breitling authentication: check the part and overall quality and finishing of the movement

    Breitling authentication: check details such as the finishing on this Breitling engraving below the balance wheel

    Breitling authentication: check the quality of the crystal in the centre of the balance wheel

     

    Step 4: Making sure the case and bracelet are correct and in good quality

    In addition to checking if the watch and parts in it are 100% authentic, another aspect of our check is performing a quality assesment. For example, we also closely observe the case, glass, functioning of the complications, bracelet, clasp and other aspects of the watch. 

    During step 4 of the Breitling authentication service, our watchmakers observe the following:

    • Observing quality of case finishing including brushing, materials used, the sharpness of the edges, crown, pushers, and overall condition (wear)
    • Observing the quality and finishing through a loupe including marks and text on the dial, material on the hands and plots and the depth of the text applied on the dial
    • Observing the quality and finishing of the bracelet including quality of the bracelet pins, material used, finishing applied to the bracelet and text on the inside of the bracelet
    • Our watchmakers check if the steel bezel and finishing of the dial is correct and in accordance with Breitling standards, and if the materials have been applied conform Breitling standards. 
    • Observe the engravings in and details on the case (reference number and letters on the watch). These carry a specific finish that has to be observed with the eye up close.

    Step 5: Verifying waterproofness and timekeeping

    This last part on how to authenticate a Breiting is focussed on assuring quality. During step 5 of this authentication service, our watchmakers execute the following procedures.

    • Verifying timekeeping is within certificated (COSC* in this case) with a Timegrapher machine, this machine detects the beats per second and daily deviation in 1/10 of a second.
    • In addition there are multiple tools that can help with waterproofness testing (making sure a watch is waterproof) in case of watches sold as waterproof.

    *COSC stands for Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (which is an institute that certifies timekeeping measurements)

    The conclusion on authenticity and quality

    We have briefly explained what we do in this blog about the authentication of a Breitling Navitimer B03 Chronograph Rattrapante. Since the watch was sold as in "good condition" it passed out strict assessment for authenticity and quality. With our Authentication and Quality assessment the client (from Swiss) could enjoy peace of mind about the authenticity and quality of this watch which was bought online from a seller in the UK.

    After the authentication and quality report was issued to the buyer, the watch was sent fully insured and with signature delivery to our customer. 

    Breitling Navitimer B03 Rattrapante 

    Can you authenticate a Breitling on your own?

    That depends really, if you are a seasoned expert and/or Breitling watchmaker you could possibly authenticate a Breitling on your own. If you are not, you will not be able to perform certain steps. At first you need to be able to open the case back and dismantle the bracelet. In addition you need the experience to conclude if the materials used are correct, if Breitling finishing is applied correctly, if the cards gloss and stickers are correct, verify the correct finishing of the dial, check the lubrication quality, verify the correct complications and build up of the movement, assess quality of the pins used etc.

    So our advise would always be to have it authenticated by an experienced watchmaker.

    Where to buy an authentic Breitling Navitimer 

    If you are looking to buy an authentic Breitling Navitimer there are multiple options you can go with. For the best find we do advise to use marketplaces like our Relleb marketplace for private sellers, eBay or Chrono24 with our Relleb authentication & buying service.

    Many certified pre-owned sellers like Chronext or Watchfinder&Co are most of the times far more expensive. They have more overhead costs and service every watch (in our opinion sometimes overservice watches) which adds up to the cost price of a Breitling Navitimer (or any watch - for that matter). But, buying from private sellers bears risks and therefore we always advise to have an expert or watchmaker help you authenticate a watch.

    Other blogs of interest

    How to tell a real Rolex vs. expensive fake Rolex

    Rolex serial number check explained

    Chrono24 review: our experience after buying multiple watches

    Fake watches on Chrono24: what is that all about?

    More about Relleb and the founders

    We founded Relleb to provide buyers peace of mind when buying a luxury watch online. We hated to see beloved colleagues and friends being scammed on the internet and we experiences first hand how difficult it can be to only buy a watch online and also authenticate a watch by yourself. 

    We stand for the ultimate customer experience when buying a watch and bring the following trades.

    • Customer focused process and facilitating customs import duty policies and risks
    • Authentication by hand by an experienced brand watchmaker
    • Quality certainty over movement, timekeeping and condition of the watch
    • Authentication report including  photos/videos documenting the authentication of the watch
    • Insured shipment with a priority carrier to your doorstep
    • Free returns and refund if a watch is fake or incorrect

    Video: How our authentication service works

    Written by

    Marcel, watch enthusiast, co-owner of Relleb

    Last updated September 28, 2022

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