Breguet Type XXII 3880ST High Frequency Chronograph Watch Hands-On

Breguet Type XXII 3880ST High Frequency Chronograph Watch Hands-On

Breguet Type XXII 3880ST High Frequency Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

Between the time I originally wrote about this Breguet watch and when it was commercially released, the Type XXII watch changed. My understanding is that Breguet first needed to completely finish developing and testing the movement as well as perfecting the design when I initially saw it in 2010. Last year when the watch was eventually released for sale, consumers ended up with a slighty different product. When people like me go to watch shows we are shown “prototypes” and rarely products which are ready to be boxed up for a customer. “Prototypes” can mean one of these things. Either, “this is a shoddily put together version of the final model that doesn’t look as sexy as it will eventually look…” or, “we haven’t quite finished this watch and need some feedback from people like you and retailers while we make it actually work.” This was the latter I believe.

What’s wrong with that approach? A few things, and a lot of brands do it to their detriment. But there is an easy fix, and I did discuss it with my friends at Breguet. First let me say that I love how the Type XXII 3880ST watch came out. I first discussed the Breguet Type XXII watch here. I loved how it looked back then but felt that the dial was confusing to understand. I don’t blame Breguet because the Type XXII watch was their first entrant in the world of 10Hz speed mechanical movements. Not only was this piece complicated to get working reliably, but creating a dial around seconds hands that move around the dial in 30 seconds and not 60 seconds is tough. Plus, Breguet wanted to include as much functionality in the in-house calibre 589F automatic movement as possible.

Breguet Type XXII 3880ST High Frequency Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

OK, so getting back to that problem I was referring to. Breguet releases information on the prototype Type XXII and then shows it to the press. We merrily discuss the new watch over the next few months and then think little of it unless the brands spray us with PR messages asking us to pay attention to the piece again. Some time later, Breguet releases the final version of the Type XXII to shops and it isn’t the same watch us members of the watch media wrote about. Worse yet, they don’t update the watch media that the final retail version is a little bit different than the prototype. This causes at least two problems – consumers are potentially misled about what to expect in the store and also, consumers aren’t ever made aware through watch media when the products they are interested in are finally commercially available. It can be months to years before watches us writers get to check out are finally available for purchase. That time to market figure changes all the time, and rarely are watches available for purchase when we write about them. What brands need to do is an additional PR (public relations) push when a product people are waiting for is finally being shipped to retailers, and of course include information on how and if those watches may have changed (because it is usually for the better). More so, I will claim that watch brands need to do a better job of helping the watch media tell consumers where to actually buy or get simple information about where to buy watches. They know watch buyers read watch media, so then why doesn’t it make sense for watch brands to use the watch media to tell people the products they are waiting for are ready for purchase?

OK, enough with that. Moving back to Mr. speedyhands – the Type XXII timepiece. I was with Breguet at their boutique here in Los Angeles checking out… well watches. They showed me the Type XXII 3880ST watch and i immediately noticed that it was different than the piece I previously discussed. The most noteworthy change was the removal of the linear indicator under 12 o’clock. Everyone thought it was a power reserve indicator – but it wasn’t. It was actually part of the minute counter for the chronograph. Don’t ask… it has been removed. The scales on the dials also changed. I think for the better. In addition to being more colorful, the scales are more useful for reading the 60 minute chronograph.

Breguet Type XXII 3880ST High Frequency Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

Breguet Type XXII 3880ST High Frequency Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

On the rear of the watch is now a small sapphire crystal viewing panel to see the escapement. This is a big benefit as the 10Hz movement vibrates at 72,000 beats per hour. That is well over twice as fast as your standard mechanical Swiss automatic that operates at 4Hz. This high speed movement is supposed to be more accurate, allows for you to measure 1/10 of a second increments with the chronograph, and also makes the piece more modern. Well more modern in a sort of anachronistic way, but you gotta love the power of silicon. Look closely and you’ll see the blue-colored silicon balance spring and escapement. Unlike the large escapements found in slower operating movements (such as the UNITAS for example), high-speed ones are usually quite petite. This is because of air friction and how fast they move.

The cleaner looking dial on the Type XXII watch is beautiful. I still love the red and white colors. If there was a dash of blue in there I would think of the French flag. Not the American flag for some reason. Come to think of it, the red and white tones do match the Swiss flag. OK, I am overdoing it with that mental connection. What does that Type XXII watch do? Well it has the time, date, second time zone and 60 minute chronograph. And it does all that with only seven hands!

Breguet Type XXII 3880ST High Frequency Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

The chronograph function in the Type XXII 388ST doesn’t use any of the subsidiary dials. Instead, it uses two centrally placed hands for the seconds and minutes. The chronograph seconds hand moves around the entire dial each 30 seconds. Yes, it can get confusing. The minute hand “steps” two times each minute. Meaning there is a halfway position so that you know if the chronograph seconds hand is measuring the first or second half of that corresponding minute. Using the hash marks on the periphery of the dial, you can determine the 1/10 of a second fractional reading.

The subdials on the face are for the subsidiary seconds (also shown on a scale of 30 versus 60 seconds), and two dials for the second time zone. By the way, the hands that move around the dial each 30 seconds move quite quick. The large lower subdial has the hours of a second time zone. You read the minutes with the normal minute hand. Then there is a 24 hour indicator (AM/PM) indicator for the second time zone (reference time). The date is placed above 6 o ‘clock. Overall the dial is beautiful, and while still quite quirky, feels much more legible than the first time around.

Breguet Type XXII 3880ST High Frequency Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

Breguet Type XXII 3880ST High Frequency Chronograph Watch Hands On   hands on

Breuget still uses a steel case for the 44mm wide Type XXII 3880ST watch. It is quite thick at about 17.3mm. Another new element on the dial is the “10Hz” label which is a bit of a logo at this point. We saw it as well on the Breguet Classique Chronometrie 10Hz watch (discussed here). These wonderful high-rate silicon-based Breguet watches are cool and beautiful. Are they useful from an horological perspective? To be honest I am not sure. Get them for what you think they could be, versus what they actually are. Price for this hummingbird of a Breguet is in the range of $19,000.

‪‪

12 comments
MarkCarson
MarkCarson

I could not tell from the video, does the chronograph minute hand move in half minute jumps or does it "sweep"? A jumping (half) minute hand might work for the whacky 30 second per revolution second hand. Either way, I can't say that I like the double rev chrono second hand.

The red "shadow" color on the numerals also bothers me. It looks like it was done on a a printer with the red and black print heads misaligned. I know this is not the actual case, just the resulting visual effect.

Certainly not the best from Breguet. Cost aside, I would not wear one. Looks like an Ingersoll or something.

HawaiianHorology
HawaiianHorology

I am inclined to agree with Nate.  It is a cluttered mix of styles.  This is definitely not one for the ages.  More ugly (to me) than the Rolex Skywalker.  There is no cohesiveness to the piece.  Where as the Tudor Monte Carlo and Black Bay really do it for me (as do the Maurice Lacroix Flyback Annuaire), this completely does NOT.  Is this the SAME design team that came up with the Breguet Hora Mundi?  Hard to believe...

Sergio Magos
Sergio Magos

The Breguet looks great! It is a well put together time piece, however for 19,000 the luminescents should be visible. In the dark picture the lume should be as bright as a football score board

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

I disagree wholeheartedly with nate. I'm willing to let my hair down and take in something new. Is this perfect? no, not really, but it is beautiful, unique, and I'm sure it's opened a lot of new door in the house of Breguet. When we took a look at the other 10hz offering, I was quite dissapointed - thyat one missed a lot of marks. But this, coming from the sporty corner, not the eklegant one, has a lot more room to breathe.

All in, the only thing I would really want to change for now is the dive bezel. So unnecessary. I agree that the layout of functions could have been done better, but I don't particularly think there is any mistakes, just a new interpritation that is not immediately easy to grasp.

I would very happily have this in my collection, and give it fair wrist time. Easily dressed down, this also affords some availability in the dressing up category.

Can't wait to see how they continue to evolve this new "10hz" logo, and the technology that comes with it.

meisenzahl
meisenzahl

That '10Hz' thing on the dial really bugs me. Other than that, I like it.

nateb123
nateb123

Classic, high-end brand "no design is elegant design" thinking.  This is like an Aston Martin SUV.  A marketing team went "We need a dive watch!  Let's make one filled with our 'Brand DNA'".  Fluted case and...weirdo numbers?  They're different, but they look cheap and dated, like something you'd find on an old no-name pocket watch that catches your attention for a minute until you go "Oh wait, this isn't worth keeping. It was junk when it was new".

And while it's technically impressive, functionally this movement is a mess.  2 hour indicators for the 2nd time zone?  It looks like they went "Lets make a chronograph that doesn't look like all the other ones" and still ended up with a product that does.  With the potential to make a new movement, why not a 12 hour chrono with the hours and minutes on the same dial?  Why not a 5 minute dial with increments every 1/2 minute (Swatch was smart enough to figure that out when they did the Retrograde Chrono years ago).  Use a centrally mounted 24 hour hand and wham, sexy watch.  This...this makes me think a movement designer needs to retire but management won't fire him and the staff below him are afraid to say anything.

Unfortunate for something with so much energy and talent put into it.

willin
willin

Great review on a stunning watch. //Dan

SuperStrapper
SuperStrapper

Yep, a watch shouldn't be expensive without good lume. Which reminds me, I have a Lum-Tec i never wear anymore. Based on the lume, it's worth about $50k, but you can have it for $20k, I just want it gone.

nateb123
nateb123

@Kris C Honestly, part of what's so unfortunate about this is that there is a lot to like buried under a mess of "good enough" design.  I REALLY like the lower subdial with the diamonds between the numbers.  I also love that font and I think red and white was a good choice. But then it has seven hands, of which only 3 looks alike.  And that scale; all of the ugly, overly-busy Navitimer look without the slide rule functionality.  

It looks like it has a pirate-y theme going on but it was only executed halfway.  Had they actually made a movement worth using and cleaned up the visual mess, they really could have made a watch that would blow people's minds and at 20grand, they could have had a really good seller and garnered a whole new following for the brand by showing their watch porn in magazines.  A lost opportunity.

Ariel Adams
Ariel Adams

ha, that made me smirk. What passion!

nateb123
nateb123

@Kris C Basically I need to do a "Watch What-if" in Illustrator haha.

Trackbacks