Breguet’s famous Type XX watches are among the first high-end timepieces that I fell in love with back in college. I couldn’t afford one then, and I still don’t have one today, but the dream of owning one of the Breguet “Type” aviator style watches remains strong. They come in a few varieties, such as the Type XX, Type XXI, and the newer (and sort of silly) Type XXII.
50 years ago Breguet delivered to the French Naval Airforce 500 Type XX Aéronavale watches made on special order. Actually, they were ordered in 1958, but it took Breguet 2 years to make all the pieces. The French Naval Air force (known as the Aéronavale), wanted easy to ready flight watches with flyback chronograph functions. Still to this day, all Breguet Type XX watches have a flyback chronograph. The watch had a special engraving on the back which read: Breguet Marine Nationale Aeronautique Navale.” According to Breguet, the watches were still being used in service by pilots until the early 1980s (and collector’s love them today). Breguet has actually been working with the French Navy since 1815 supplying pocket watches.
After that initial run, Breguet continued the tradition of the watches, with the simply named Aeronavale timepieces. They also offered newer Type XX watches (a model name that was in use long before the 1960s). In addition to 50 years of the Aeronavale watch, 2010 also marks the 100th anniversary of the French Aeronavale as a military branch. As such, Breguet, who hasn’t made a limited edition watch for any specific purpose in a while, has created this new limited edition of 1000 pieces Type XX Aéronavale Ref. 3803ST watch for 2010.
The piece is a beauty. Lovely in the tradition of the Type XX, it looks both retro and somehow modern at the same time. The case is medium sized at 39mm wide in a high polished steel, win that great iconic style with the coined (fluted) edge. The rotating bezel has raised relief numerals and markers with black lacquer set in the between them. While the case size is smaller than today’s modern Type XXI watches (for example), it is a bit larger than the original Ref. 3800 watches from the 1960s.
Inside the watch is a Breuget Caliber 581 automatic flyback chronograph movement. The dial of the watch is super easy to read (and super classy I should add). I love that Arabic numeral font, done in thick applied luminant. Don’t miss the traditional looking “fat” hand for the subsidiary seconds dial. Price is actually reasonable given the retail price of other Type XX watches. The each of the 1000 pieces in the limited edition will go for $9,200.
TECH SPECS FROM BREGUET:
TYPE XX — AÃ‰RONAVALE LIMITED SERIES OF 1,000 CHRONOGRAPH DESCRIPTION
-Case round, made of steel, with a fluted middle. Diameter 39 mm.
-Rounded lugs. Bidirectional rotating bezel. Water -resistant to 10 bar (100 metres).
-Solid caseback engraved with the official Naval Aviation centenary emblem.
-Dial matt black. Luminous hands and numerals. Chapter ring with Arabic numerals.
-Movement self-winding chronograph with flyback function.
-Numbered and signed BREGUET Cal. 581. 13 ¼ lignes. 25 jewels. 48- hour power reserve. Annular balance. Swiss straight -line lever escapement.
-Strap hand-sewn calfskin leather.