Only Watch 2019: Breguet Type 20 Pilot ChronographWritten by Melissa Kong
Breguet takes to the skies for Only Watch 2019.
Held since 2005, the biannual Only Watch charity event is back with its exclusive one-off timepieces to be auctioned in Geneva on November 9.
This year, 52 watch brands are contributing 50 pieces to be auctioned (De Bethune and Urwerk will collaborate on one piece while L’Epée and MB&F will contribute another), with 100 per cent of the proceeds going directly to scientific and medical research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy and neuromuscular diseases in general.
While many know Breguet as the inventor of the tourbillon, it is also deeply rooted in aviation. From 1918, Breguet supplied military watches to the American Air Force and, later on, provided sophisticated chronographs to different aviation and aircraft companies.
In the early 1950s, the French defense ministry was in the market for chronograph wristwatches for its pilots. It assembled a list of specifications for the watches (to be known as Type 20) and Breguet answered the call to produce the chronographs. Its design was quickly approved by French authorities and the Type 20 was born.
For Only Watch 2019, Breguet is reissuing the manual-winding Type 20 pilot chronograph in a unique model. Equipped with a flyback column wheel chronograph—the model’s signature feature—the watch retains the original case size of 38.3mm with curved lugs and a pear-shaped crown.
New to this model is a bidirectional fluted bezel and triangular markings for flight calculations. For enhanced legibility, the hands and large Arabic numerals are dressed in Super-LumiNova. The Valjoux 235 13 lignes movement within is derived directly from the original Valjoux 222 14 lignes movement, with the movement blank restored to ensure the proportions of the watch are exactly the same. Eagle-eyed observers will also notice the new version has a Breguet logo at 12 o’clock.
The caseback is inscribed with 'Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019 Pièce Unique
From the classic bi-compax dial layout to the bronze dial and piston-shaped pushers, there’s a lot to love about this faithful tribute. And to drive (or fly) home the point, the watch is presented in a box shaped like an airplane wing.
Like most people these days, Melissa tells the time with her phone. She considers serious timepieces works of art and thinks the perpetual calendar is the handiest complication to date (pun not intended). She's also a Grammar Nazi but promises not to judge if you can't tell the difference between "guilloche" and "guillotine".