Breguet: An Iconic Comeback

by Pressroom

Breguet goes back to its roots with nods to the origins of The XX in the latest two versions of this House icon, while taking an innovative step forward.

The pilot’s chronograph wristwatch has been synonymous with Breguet, with The XX being one of the most emblematic, with its origins dating back more than 70 years. Commissioned by the French Air Force in the 1950s, The XX was defined by the specifications: a black dial with luminescent numerals, luminescent hands, a high-quality movement resistant to changes in pressure and acceleration, a rotating bezel and most importantly, a “flyback” function. The fame of Breguet’s pilot chronograph went beyond military circles, and civilian versions were also produced, with both versions of The XX treasured, and sought after by collectors.

After a short hiatus, Breguet is back with two new versions of their most iconic pilot’s chronograph – the Type 20 Chronographe 2057 with military heritage, and the Type XX Chronographe 2067 – that draws inspiration from the finest civilian models. Both versions take their cues from the first-generation models, but with a modern twist, most remarkably, in the movement within.

The new Calibre 728

Four years of development at the Manufacture Breguet has culminated in the new self-winding Calibre 728 for the civilian version (Type XX Chronographe 2067) and Calibre 7281 for the military version (Type 20 Chronographe 2057). Combining robustness and innovation, this new movement and its variant incorporates all the features of a modern chronograph: a column wheel, vertical clutch, 5 Hz frequency, an innovative zero-resetting activation system, and precision timing. The balance-spring, the escape-wheel and the pallet-lever horns are made of silicon, making it resistant to corrosion and wear, insensitive to the influence of magnetic fields and more accurate.

Both models are equipped with a “flyback” function, replacing the three operations previously required with just one. Different times and directions that require evaluation are easily handled using the “flyback” function. Whatever function is performed, the pressure felt on the pushers will be even and balanced. The same applies to the vertical clutch mechanism, which has been adopted for the accuracy of its activation. The chronograph hand thus starts instantly without any initial jerks. To make the movement robust and guarantee its precision even in case of potential impacts, a cross-through bridge was chosen to secure the balance in place.

Sized in such a way as to occupy a maximum of the available space within the movement, the barrel – the energy source – is equipped with a spring whose high-energy-density material enables a longer power reserve. In this case, an impressive 60-hour power reserve.

It also looks as good as it functions – on top of the sunburst pattern, snailing, bevelling, circular-graining and other visible decorations on the components, the column wheel has undergone a black DLC treatment that heightens visual contrast while improving tribological properties. The sapphire crystal caseback also provides a chance to admire the details of the movement, including its blackened oscillating weight shaped like an aircraft wing and engraved with the Breguet logo.

The Type 20 Chronographe 2057

Inspired by the 1100 military Type 20s delivered to the French Air Force between 1955 and 1959, the Type 20 Chronographe 2057 has its name appearing as “Type 20” in Arabic numerals, and its black dial modernised while maintaining its Type 20 identity.

The self-winding watch features a 42 mm steel case fitted with a non-engraved fluted bidirectional bezel, alike the models delivered to military air forces in the past. The crown reflecting the original pear shape is adjustable in three positions: neutral, date correction, time setting. The 2 o’clock pusher activates the chronograph, and is used to start and stop the watch, while the one at 4 o’clock is for the “flyback” function, and serves to reset the chronograph and the minute totalizer. The 30-minute totalizer located at 3 o’clock is now larger than the 60-second totalizer displayed at 9 o’clock, and a date window has been added between 4 and 5 o’clock. The Arabic numerals, triangle on the bezel, and the hands are a luminescent mint green shade.

The Type XX Chronographe 2067

The adventurous look of the Type XX Chronographe 2067 reflects the finest civilian Type XX from the 1950s and 1960s, notably a model made in 1957 and bearing the individual number 2988. While it also sports a similar black dial like the 2057, it has a few defining features.

For its display, the 15-minute totalizer is located at 3 o’clock, the 12-hour totalizer at 6 o’clock and running seconds at 9 o’clock. Just as in the military-inspired version, the totalizer is sized differently to make the dial both more dynamic and more legible. The Arabic numerals, the hands and the triangle on the bezel are coated with an ivory-coloured luminescent treatment. The date window appears between 4 and 5 o’clock.

The 42 mm steel case is fitted with a fluted bidirectional graduated bezel, and its classic straight crown enables setting in three positions: neutral, date correction, time setting. The 2 o’clock pusher starts and stops the chronograph functions, while the one at 4 o’clock resets and restarts the chronograph immediately, based on the famous “flyback” principle.

Both editions are delivered in a havana-coloured leather presentation box reminiscent of an aircraft wing. Choose between a calfskin strap or a black NATO strap, easily interchangeable using the tool-free rapid interchange system (RIS).

Images courtesy of Breguet, artwork by Curatedition. All rights reserved.

Related Links:

Breguet: Flight Pattern

Breguet Reines de Naples: Ahead of the Curve

Breguet Classique: A Modern Twist on Classic Codes


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