An Icon Takes Flight With The Breguet Type XX
The acclaimed Swiss-French manufacture flexes its military might with the release of two new pilot’s watches.
Breguet marches forward by digging into the past with the exciting release of a fourth generation of its revered Type XX.
The 42mm newcomers – Type XX (civilian version) and Type 20 (military version) – arrive nearly seventy years after the model’s debut and neatly propel the esteemed manufacture’s firm alignment to aviation.
Both pieces come in steel with bidirectional steel bezels – and feature all-new automatic flyback chronograph movements. Calibre 728 (civilian) and Calibre 7281 (military) deliver a 60-hour power reserve and, to delve into things a little, hold an impressive zero-resetting activation system with escape-wheel, balance-spring and pallet-lever horns all made of silicon.
Both watches come with a set of two interchangeable straps — one in calfskin leather; one in Nato fabric — on Breguet’s rapid interchange system.
Type 20 (ref 2057) is inspired by the watch Louis Breguet delivered to the French Air Force between 1955 and 1959 and features a black dial with luminous mint-green numerals, reference triangle, and hands as well as a so-called ‘big eye’ 30-minute totaliser in bicompax setup that is larger than the subdial across from it. The typical fluted bezel remains as does the large, easy-to-grip crown, though both are much crisper and more angular than previously seen.
Type XX (ref 2067), meanwhile, is directly inspired by a 1957 model and holds a more contemporary design appeal with smooth bezel with side fluting, flatter crown, sand-coloured luminous elements, and tricompax subdial layout with a ‘big eye’ that does away with the Arabic numerals in favour of an interplay of different-sized baton markers.
To indulge a small history lesson — and better understand the venerable place Type XX holds within both the house and the wider community — Breguet had an early interest in timepieces made for aviation use, creating examples for the U.S. Air Force in 1918 as well as Louis Breguet’s Société d’Aviation, a technological company established by one of the company founder’s own descendants.
In the 1950s, France’s Ministry of Defense looked to purchase wrist chronographs for its air force, drew up a specification booklet and invited watchmakers to submit prototypes for the timepiece it would call the Type 20. Breguet submitted a design in 1954 — a pilot’s watch outfitted with a flyback chronograph offering the ability to quickly time consecutive events without having to reset the hands in between, thereby ensuring that the pilot would not have to fumble with buttons.
Where other marques also submitted designs, none have achieved the status and rightful reverence of the Breguet Type XX. Bien joue.
Available now, $26,200; breguet.com
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