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INTRODUCING: Breguet’s Type XX and Type 20 Chronographs rock old-school looks

The Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067 and Type 20 Ref. 2057.

The watchmaker’s classic chronograph gets an overhaul with new movements.

 A Quick Recap 

Breguet has been making MIL-SPEC pilot’s chronograph watches since the 1950s. The watchmaker’s prototype Type 20 chronograph was presented around 1957, and in the following year, the French Aéronavale (the naval air arm of the French Navy) commissioned it to produce 500 pieces of the watch.  

The original Breguet Type 20 prototype from 1955. Only 3 were produced in gold.
The original Breguet Type 20 prototype from 1955. Only three pieces were produced in gold.

These watches were designed for use by military pilots, so they had high-performance standards, from pressure and shock resistance to accuracy, legibility, and more. Most importantly, they had to be flyback chronographs to allow pilots to easily reset the chronograph and chart their course.   

But the Breguet family has even closer ties to aviation than most realise. Louis Charles Breguet and his brother Jacques were aeronautical pioneers in the early 20th century, inventing an early version of the helicopter and the Breguet Type I fixed-wing aircraft. They created the Louis Breguet aviation workshops and used wristwatches and dashboard instruments from Breguet (then Breguet et Fils).  

The Breguet Type XXII Ref. 3880 has the same construction as past Type XX models.
The Breguet Type XXII Ref. 3880 has the same construction as past Type XX models.

Breguet continued to produce the Type XX, a civilian version of the Type 20, until the ’70s. It was later relaunched in 1995. The collection has always been much loved by fans of the brand and collectors. The Type 20 tool watch was an important one in watchmaking history, both in terms of driving innovation and design. Now, nearly 70 years later, the watchmaker is presenting two new versions of the pilot’s chronograph that are re-editions of the OG models.  

The Breguet Type XX Ref. 2065 for Only Watch 2021.
The Breguet Type XX Ref. 2065 for Only Watch 2021.

The collection has undergone many evolutions since. The Ref. 3800 and Ref. 3880 (which is a Type XXII) are probably the best-known. They had a fluted case middle, crown, and bezel and were equipped with sturdy calibres. In particular, Ref. 3880 had an experimental 10Hz high-frequency chronograph movement. More recently, Breguet created two vintage pieces for Only Watch in 2019 and 2021, both of which feature designs that are closer to the original models.  

The Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067 and Type 20 Ref. 2057 models in steel.
The Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067 and Type 20 Ref. 2057 models in steel with NATO strap.

The New Type 20 and Type XX Chronographs 

The Type 20 Chronograph Ref. 2057 and Type XX Chronograph Ref. 2067 are re-releases of OG models and are true to the style of Breguet’s prototype and military issues with some contemporary updates. They eschew the sub-40 aesthetics widely pursued by watch brands today and are sized at 42mm but with shortened lugs, so they still wear well on slimmer wrists. Note that the lugs have reverted to the curved and angled ones that are highly elegant, distinct from the Ref. 38xx models.  

The Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067 in steel case.
The Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067 in steel case.

Both the Type 20 (military version) and Type XX (civilian version) have slim fluted bezels and slim cases, with pump pushers and fluted crowns. The military model has a large pear-shaped crown, designed for use by gloved pilots who need to operate the watch mid-air. The civilian version was a flat crown. They also have a date display between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers and large Arabic numeral markers on the dial.  

A closer look at the dial and case of the Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067.
A closer look at the dial and case of the Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067.

On the Type XX civilian model, the watch is a close version of Breguet’s Type 20 for the French military. An oversized 15-minute totaliser is positioned at 3 o’clock, with 12-hour and small seconds counters at 6 and 9 o’clock, respectively. The bezel is engraved with Arabic numeral hour markers with a lumed triangle at 12 o’clock. On the dial, the long arrow hands and hour markers, and the leaf-shaped hand and markers on the 15-minute sub-dial are painted with the same vintage cream lume. This handsome-looking watch is paired with a brown calfskin leather strap and a black NATO strap. Both are easily interchangeable.  

The Breguet Type 20 Ref. 2057 is a modern interpretation of the original prototype.
The Breguet Type 20 Ref. 2057 is a modern interpretation of the original prototype.

On the Type 20, we have two registers, an oversized 30-minute counter and a smaller 60-second sub-dial at 3 and 9 o’clock, respectively. Sword-style and leaf-shaped hands and hour markers on the dial and counters are painted with mint green lume, while the bezel is clean with just a triangle marker at 12 o’clock. This watch comes with a smooth black calfskin leather strap and a black NATO strap, which are interchangeable.  

New Movements

The calibre 7281 powers the Type 20 Ref. 2057, seen here through its exhibition caseback.
The Calibre 7281 powers the Breguet Type 20 Ref. 2057, seen here through its exhibition caseback.

The watches also feature new self-winding calibres: the 7281 for the Type 20 and the 728 for the Type XX. The latter features a modification for the small seconds display. Both are vertically coupled chronograph movements with column-wheel control, high-speed 5Hz escapement, and 60 hours of power reserve. They also have an inverted in-line lever escapement with a flat silicon balance spring for greater magnetic resistance and durability.   

The calibre 728 can be seen through the caseback of the Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067.
The Calibre 728 can be seen through the caseback of the Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067.

Slimming down the watch and keeping its design close to the original Type 20 while updating aspects of the watch (such as the case size) to modern options make this the pilot’s chronograph to look out for this year. The watches are priced at S$26,000 and will be available in stores and authorised retailers from this month. For lovers of MIL-SPEC watches and aviation aficionados, it is a treat to witness the return of a beloved design.  

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.