Wakmann is mostly remembered today for its association with Breitling. Founded in 1943 in Portugal by a Russian immigrant named Icko Wakmann, he later took his watch business to New York and became Breitling’s official US import partner in 1947. Wakmann would receive unassembled Breitling watches to assemble and sell in the US, and also sold Wakmann-branded watches that were otherwise partly or mostly made with Breitling parts; this relationship continued until the 1980s.
Today, a modern company called Wakmann keeps the name alive and produces Swiss-Made watches that focus on the use of tritium illumination. Wakmann watches surface on the vintage market here and there, and while the brand is known for some very nice triple calendar watches, it has a varied catalog. Below, we found some truly sporty chronograph watches, each representing a very different style.
Wakmann Diver Chronograph 1960s
What We Like: Absolutely a killer overall package, with that monochromatic but punchy design, “beads-of-rice” bracelet, and a 40.5mm case that’s perfectly sized for modern tastes — though it would have been considered quite large when the watch came out in the 1960s. It’s got a rotating diver’s bezel, 200m of water resistance (“20 ATM,” as on the dial), and is powered by the Valjoux 7733 manually wound chronograph movement. Details like the beveled lugs and raised crystal top it all off.
From the Seller: Only a ding on the inner lower left bezel that could be polished if desired. Movement was just cleaned and is accurate, with the chronograph functioning perfectly.
Wakmann Tropical Chronograph
What We Like: Some collectors are really into dials that have aged to take on a “tropical chocolate” look like this one — that doesn’t mean they have melted, but rather have developed a rich brown hue, often from prolonged exposure to sun. This particular watch features a highly wearable 37mm case and is powered by a manually wound Swiss chronograph movement.
From the Seller: Case in great condition, no blemishes.
What We Like: Straight out of the 1970s, this Wakmann Regate is appropriately funky. While the chronograph and date are common features, here they are integrated in some interesting ways. First, as a regatta (yacht racing) timer, the tachymeter bezel is marked to count down 15 seconds (so zero is at the 15 seconds mark). Next, a crown at 10:30 is used to rotate an inner bezel and line up the day of the week with the date — referencing the typical date display at 3 o’clock. With a bold 42mm gold-plated steel case, it offers some serious color for the wrist.
From the Seller: Unpolished gold-plated case is in excellent condition showing minimal signs of wear from age and use.