Breitling Watch Serial Numbers Guide: What Do They Mean?


Breitling watches are among some of the most high-end on the market, as the manufacturers craft them with care, precision, and high-quality materials. Since you pay a lot of money for a Breitling watch, it’s essential to understand the serial numbers and what they represent.

Breitling watch serial numbers indicate when and where a watch was manufactured. They are located on the case back of most watches. Each watch also has a model reference number, which tells you what model the watch is. The serial number is unique to each watch, but the reference number is not.

This article will discuss what Breitling watch serial numbers mean in greater detail. It will also discuss what the reference numbers mean, how to read the different numbers, and how to tell if a Breitling watch is genuine by reading the numbers.

What Is a Breitling Watch Serial Number?

A Breitling watch serial number is a 6-8 digit number located on the case back of many Breitling watches. It carries information regarding the manufacture and sale of the watch, but it isn’t easy to understand. If you want to learn more about your watch’s number, you must contact Breitling.

Unlike some other watch brands (where the watch owner can decode the serial number), it isn’t possible with Breitling serial numbers. The only way to learn more information about your watch through the serial number is to get it checked by a Breitling watch expert or Breitling themselves.

Breitling serial numbers have changed over the years. Up until the 70s, they were six or seven digits long. But from the early 80s onwards, they have been six or eight digits long.

Where To Find a Breitling Watch Serial Number

To find a Breitling watch serial number, you should check the case back. In most instances, it will be located underneath the model reference number and should be less visible but still easy to read. It’s important not to confuse the serial number with the model reference number.

If your Breitling is a newer model (early 80s onwards), the serial number should be six or eight digits long.

What Is a Breitling Watch Model Reference Number?

A Breitling watch model reference number is the number that represents the model of the watch. Every watch of the same model will have the same model reference number, so it’s not unique to each watch. Checking the reference number can help you figure out the approximate period the watch was made.

Specific models are made during certain periods and then discontinued eventually. So, for example, if your watch is a discontinued model, you could check the reference number. You can check the years in which that particular model began and ceased production. 

Of course, it won’t give you an insight into specific details about your watch, but it could still help figure out the age of your watch. 

How To Read a Breitling Reference Number

You can locate the Breitling reference number on the case back above the serial number. If you want to decode the reference number to gain more information about your watch’s history, here is what each number means:

  • The 1st digit. The first digit always indicates the case material. Common examples include A (steel bezel) or B (steel rose gold bezel).
  • The 2nd and 3rd digits. These two digits refer to the type of movement within the watch. Breitling movements can be created in-house or by a third party. If the movement is made in-house, there will be an extra digit (B) before the other two digits.
  • The 4th digit. This one indicates the watch is COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) certified. Many luxury Swiss watch brands require COSC certification because it guarantees precision and reliability. 3 indicates COSC certification.
  • The 5th and 6th digits. These digits detail the model of the watch.
  • The 7th and 8th digits. The 7th and 8th digits display the finish of the case. For example, 53 would indicate a diamond finish. 

Those are the primary digits of the serial number, but sometimes, there may only be six digits. However, there can also be an extra four digits after the serial number, and they would be separated with a forward slash.

After the forward slash, the final four digits refer to the dial color and design. For example, O (the first of the final four digits) would indicate a coral dial color. The last three digits are random and difficult to decode unless you get a Breitling expert to examine the watch.

How To Locate a Breitling Watch Manufacture Date

To locate a Breitling manufacture date, you should search for a four-digit number between the bottom lugs at 6 o’clock. You’ll need to remove the bracelet to uncover this number. The first two digits represent the week of the year, and the last two refer to the year the watch was made.

For example, let’s say the number on your watch is 2419. This number would mean that your watch was made in the 24th week of 2019 (June 2019).

This number makes it easy to figure out when your watch was made, so it’s worth checking if you’re curious. However, it’s best to get a Breitling watch professional to remove the bracelet because you don’t want to risk damaging your watch (unless you’re experienced, of course).

If it were a cheaper watch, it would be OK to remove the bracelet yourself. But due to the high cost of a Breitling watch, you shouldn’t tamper with it unnecessarily. You certainly don’t want to damage it and then pay a lot of money to repair it!

It’s also important to be aware that Breitling only brought in this four-digit stamp in the 2000s, so you won’t be able to locate it if your watch is older than this. If your watch is older, you can refer to the reference number or have your watch thoroughly examined by a professional.

Can Breitling Watch Serial Numbers Reveal a Fake Watch?

The Breitling watch serial numbers can reveal a fake watch. If there is no serial number or an odd number of digits, the watch is likely fake because every authentic Breitling watch has a specific serial number. Also, a watch that feels light or doesn’t have anti-glare features could be fake.

Checking the serial number should always be one of the first steps you take if you want to make sure the watch is authentic. However, there are other things you should also check. 

Once you’ve checked everything (serial and reference numbers, glass, logo, and weight), you can decide whether you think the watch is fake or not.

Let’s look at how to spot a fake Breitling watch in greater detail below:

Look Out for the Serial and Model Reference Number

A Breitling watch will have a serial and reference number engraved on the case back or (in rarer cases) between the lugs. If a watch has no sign of a serial or reference number anywhere, you’ll know it’s fake. 

However, some fakes will have serial numbers. In this case, you should check the format of the serial number to see if it matches Breitling’s official format. If the serial number looks legit, but you still have doubts about the watch’s authenticity, you can have it checked by a certified Breitling watch seller.

Pay Attention to the Weight of the Watch

Breitling watches are pretty heavy because of the high-quality materials used. If you notice a watch feels exceptionally light and cheap, it’s most likely fake.

Usually, you can tell a watch doesn’t hit the mark just by holding it. It’ll feel like any other cheap watch you would buy, so it’s a tell-tale sign that it’s not authentic.

Check if It Has Anti-Glare Features

All Breitling watches consist of glare-proof sapphire crystal, so a watch with a glare or cheap-looking glass is most definitely a fake. As you may know, sapphire crystal is also one of the best materials for a watch because of its scratch-resistant properties. So if your watch gets scratched easily, it’s likely a fake.

Examine the Logo

There are two main Breitling logos:

  • The letter B in between two wings.
  • The letter B on its own.

If your watch has the logo with the wings, you should ensure the design is genuine. Plus, there should be some space between the wings and the letter B. All authentic Breitling watches with this logo have some space. So if the B touches the wings directly, your watch is fake.

If your watch has the simpler logo (B by itself), you want to make sure it’s raised instead of lying flat and drawn on. On genuine watches, this logo is molded and raised. It’s perfectly finished with no rough edges. If this isn’t the case for your watch, it could be fake.

Conclusion

Breitling watch serial numbers contain manufacturing information about each watch. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to decode a serial number, so you’ll need to ask a Breitling professional to check it.

Another important number is the model reference number. This one is easier to read and gives information on the model of the watch. Many watches can have the same model reference number.

There is also a four-digit number on Breitling watches made from the 2000s onwards. This number indicates the week and year in which the watch was made. Many fake Breitlings won’t have any serial numbers.

Jasper Pieterse

Hi all! My name is Jasper and I'm an avid watch fan. On this site, I'd like to share my experiences!

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