This collection enjoying iconic status for nearly 70 years has accompanied the history of aviation – whether on pilots’ wrists as a precision instrument or on those of ordinary amateur enthusiasts fascinated by its legendary qualities. The Manufacture Breguet proudly unveils a redesigned line that is innovative, highly contemporary and brimming with nods to history. The year 2023 brings a new Type XX, new momentum, a new generation and an all-new calibre. Four years of preparation preceded the arrival of the new generation of iconic Type XX watches, this time, issued in two versions to meet all expectations: one militaryinspired and the other drawing on the finest civilian models. Taking cues from the emblematic first-generation models, Breguet has instilled a contemporary, dynamic and technological spirit into these watches. The Type XX saga clearly shows no sign of petering out!
A Return To Roots
It was entirely natural for Breguet to draw on its inexhaustible heritage in creating the new Type XX. Putting things into context, one may recall that in the early 1950s, Breguet was able to meet the requirements of air forces wishing to equip themselves with a robust wrist chronograph featuring certain distinctive characteristics. A prestigious and widely recognised firm keen to be part of humankind’s great adventures, Breguet placed itself
at the service of airborne navigation in the 20th century, just as it had done for maritime navigation in the 19th century. A large number of pilots acquired Breguet watches, including Alberto Santos-Dumont in 1910, American pilots stationed in France in 1918, the Louis Breguet aviation company, Japanese pilots visiting France in the 1920s, and many others...
Time & Airborne Navigation
For pilots, and more generally for aircrew members, keeping track of time on board an aircraft – meaning preserving temporal references within an environment characterised by intense activity and stress – is a vital necessity. Operations such as measuring flight time or intermediate flight times, monitoring fuelconsumption, taking bearings and carrying out manoeuvres all required instruments that watchmakers would render both more accurate and convenient to handle over the years: on-board chronographs and soon thereafter chronograph wristwatches. A study of the company archives reveals that numerous “special” products – i.e. suited to the particular constraints of the aeronautical environment – were introduced from the 1930s onwards. 19-line aerodrome chronometers in an antimagnetic silver case, split-second chronographs, small 24-line on-board chronometers with a heat-insulated case, a thermostat and lighting, siderometers... All these highly technical timepieces were delivered both to military aviation and to the recently created French national airline, Air France. Delivery of watchmaking instruments for aircraft instrument panels increased from the early 1950s onwards and for 30 years was one of Breguet’s recognised specialities. The most widespread models were the Type 11, 11/1 and 12, which were sold to a dozen countries and featured on the instrument panels of numerous aircraft, notably the unforgettable, supersonic Concorde. In the 1930s, the company was already producing more and more wristwatches with a chronograph function and the
post-war period confirmed the trend. The fashion for wrist worn chronographs was launched and has continued unabated ever since. For pilots, time is so precious when aboard aircraft that it is necessary, for safety reasons, to establish a principle of redundancy. At the time, that meant backing up the chronograph on the instrument panel with another chronograph – and not just any model– strapped to the pilot’s wrist. If one became unusable, the other would take over. This was the whole point of the watchmaking instruments in which Breguet was to become a specialist, notably with the legendary Type XX.