This model was designed for the Italian army
Only 1000 pieces were produced.
The Breitling 817 was introduced in 1975, as a tool watch expressly designed for military use. Commissioned by the Italian Army, the watches were given to helicopter pilots, bearing many of the classic hallmarks typically associated with military pilot’s wristwatches.
When collectors and aficionados mention the word chronograph, the watch most likely to spring to mind is the famed Daytona Cosmograph, however there are other rare and exclusive timepieces that should be considered when forming a well rounded collection. The present, hardly ever seen, military-issued Breitling 817 is such a watch. Made in 1974 for Italian army helicopter pilots and commanders of the Battaglione Paracadutisti Carabinieri Tuscania, it is believed the production numbers for the Breitling 817 were fewer than 1000 and research shows very few have appeared in public over its 40-year history. One likely theory on why so few watches are known is that the manufacturer destroyed most of them following regulation changes for radium usage.
Similar to other countries, the Italian army in the 1970s reached out to various Swiss manufacturers with specifications for watches to be used exclusively by their military. The denominations CP-1 and CP-2 were used for the case size, 39.5mm and 42mm respectively. Breitling’s 817 with its 39.5mm case is a CP-1 and while today is a wonderful collectible chronograph, during its usage pilots complained about the manual wound movement and small round pushers, which were difficult to engage with gloved hands.