Breguet’s Timeless Type XX
For nearly seven decades, the iconic collection from Manufacture Breguet has been intertwined with the rich tapestry of aviation history. Whether gracing the wrists of pilots as a precision instrument or capturing the imagination of amateur enthusiasts, the Type XX series stands as a symbol of aviation’s enduring allure. Proudly unveiling a redesigned line in 2023, Breguet introduces a blend of innovation, contemporary design, and a respectful nod to its historical roots.
This year marks the advent of a new era with the introduction of the Type XX, featuring a fresh momentum, a new generation, and an entirely new caliber. Four years of meticulous preparation preceded the launch of this iconic collection, now presented in two versions to cater to diverse preferences—one inspired by military aesthetics and the other drawing inspiration from the finest civilian models. Building upon the legacy of the first-generation models, Breguet infuses these watches with a contemporary, dynamic, and technological spirit, ensuring that the Type XX saga continues to evolve.
A Return to Roots:
The genesis of the new Type XX naturally draws upon Breguet’s inexhaustible heritage. In the early 1950s, Breguet responded to the needs of air forces seeking a robust wrist chronograph with distinctive characteristics. As a stalwart supporter of humankind’s great adventures, Breguet served the cause of airborne navigation in the 20th century, just as it had for maritime navigation in the 19th century. Notable aviators, including Alberto Santos-Dumont, American pilots stationed in France, and the Louis Breguet aviation company, embraced Breguet watches, forming a significant chapter in the brand’s storied history.
Time and Airborne Navigation:
For pilots and aircrew members, accurate timekeeping within the intense and stressful environment of an aircraft is indispensable. Breguet, attuned to the specific needs of aviation, crafted a range of “special” products designed for the aeronautical environment from the 1930s onwards. These included aerodrome chronometers, split-second chronographs, on-board chronometers, and other highly technical timepieces tailored for military aviation and civilian applications.
Journey of an Icon and Its Landmarks:
The Type XX’s history spans almost seven decades, marked by successive milestone models that have become part of Breguet’s rich catalogue. The initial models in the early 1950s fulfilled the French Air Force’s specifications, leading to the creation of the Type XX. Subsequent generations, such as the second-generation Type XX in 1971 and the revival in 1995 with the third generation, witnessed aesthetic evolution and technical advancements. The Type XXI and Type XXII further expanded the line’s horizons, introducing high-frequency technology and silicon components.
Louis Charles Breguet, fascinated by the conquest of the air, ventured into aeronautics in the early 20th century. Establishing the Louis Breguet aviation workshops in 1911, he collaborated with the Browns, who had acquired the Breguet watchmaking company, to meet the watchmaking needs of the aeronautical world. Breguet’s commitment to aviation continued through the decades, with Marcel Dassault eventually merging the company with his own in 1971.
The Type XX garnered acclaim not only from military entities like the French Air Force, Centre d’Essais en Vol, and Aéronautique Navale but also from civilian pilots and sports figures. Winners of the Monte Carlo Rally, famous drivers like Fernand Masoero, Jack Brabham, and Pierre Alexandre adorned their wrists with the Type XX. Even the French Football Federation commemorated the 1998 World Cup with personalized Type XX watches for each winner.
The Military Heritage:
Inspired by the 1100 Type XX watches delivered to the French Air Force between 1955 and 1959, the new timepiece pays homage to its military roots. The black dial is modernized while retaining the essence of the Type 20 identity, featuring luminescent Arabic numerals and a triangle on the bezel. The innovative Calibre 728 ensures accuracy, sturdiness, and a 60-hour power reserve.
The Line of Civilian Versions:
Taking inspiration from the finest civilian Type XX models of the 1950s and 1960s, the new civilian version offers an adventurous look with a dynamic and legible dial. With a 42 mm steel case, a fluted bidirectional bezel, and the innovative Calibre 728, the civilian version pays homage to the iconic lineage while embracing modernity.
Accuracy and Sturdiness:
The introduction of the new Calibre 728 marks a milestone for Breguet, combining robustness and innovation. With a column wheel, vertical clutch, 5 Hz frequency, and an innovative zero-resetting activation system, this movement is protected by multiple patents. Made with silicon components, the movement enhances accuracy, corrosion resistance, and magnetic field insensitivity. The aesthetics of the movement, including a black DLC-treated column wheel, contribute to the overall visual appeal.
In summary, Breguet’s Type XX continues to soar through time, embodying the spirit of aviation with each new iteration. The 2023 redesign pays homage to its illustrious history while embracing the future with cutting-edge technology and design elements, ensuring that the Type XX remains an enduring symbol in the world of horology.