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BREITLING "Rolled Gold"

Prior to 1994 when the "D" model was introduced, Breitling used the "B" in the model number to indicate "bi-color" or "two-tone". An all stainless steel "Old Navitimer" was a model A13019 while the "two-tone" was model B13019. The subdials are solid "2n" 18k yellow gold but the bezel was actually 316L stainless steel with 20 micron "rolled" 18K gold surface. When the D13019 Old Navitimer was introduced, the bezel became solid 18K gold. On modern Breitling watches in other series lines (Windrider, Professional, Aeromarine}, the "B" prefix in the model number indicates two tone "accents" (rider tabs, pushers, crown) while the "D" prefix indicates solid 18K gold bezel, typically with stainless steel rider tabs. Although the bezels (and rider tabs when applicable) on Breitlings today are solid 18 K gold, the crowns, pushers and gold "link segments" of the two tone bracelets remain 20 micron rolled gold as always. "Rolled" gold is not the same as less expensive and less durable "plated" (electroplated) gold. "Rolled" gold is a laminate of solid 18K gold sheet fused to a base layer (usually brass) which is typically rolled out after lamination, hence the term "rolled". The gold layer is much thicker than the microscopically thin deposit laid down by electroplating, and much more resistant to wear, being alloy gold rather than soft 24K (recent improvements in electroplating have enabled much harder deposits, but they remain extremely thin). Often, the "rolled" gold layer is so thick it can be engraved without exposing the base layer. Needless to say, there is a big difference in appearance between the superficial flash of an electroplated surface and the rich depth of gold filled metal. That said, zealous overpolishing of a rolled gold surface can indeed expose the base metal underneath, and extremely frequent use of chrono pushers and crown can do the same thing. When you send a two tone watch to Breitlng for service and polishing, it is prudent to speak to your service representative and express a concern for the piece in terms of an overpolishing possibility. Sound like experience talking? Yes, it is, and Breitling can "fix" the problem by replacing the parts with new. I recently had my Breitling authorized service center in Houston replace both chrono pushers on my two tone Crosswind for this very problem. Breitling USA overpolished my B13019 Old Navitimer and ended up putting a brand new bezel and caseback on the watch for me a few years ago. Anyway, I hope all this makes sense to you and is helpful. :)
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