Once again, Breguet will be participating in one of the most important horological events of the year, Only Watch 2021. A key charity auction organised by the Monegasque Association against Muscular Dystrophy and a much-anticipated occasion in the international watchmaking calendar, Only Watch is the occasion for watch brands to donate unique and often highly attractive watches created specifically for the occasion. Following the historical re-edition of the military Type 20 for the 2019 Edition this year, Breguet has created another vintage-inspired piece based on its emblematic pilot’s watch, with the civilian-based Breguet Type XX Ref. 2065ST.
Well-known by watch enthusiasts, Breguet has long been involved in watches designed for aviation. The name Breguet also refers to another side of the family, once again involved in aviation. Indeed, Breguet provided several timepieces for the American Air Force and in 1922 for the Société d’Aviation Louis Breguet, a company founded by a descendant of Abraham-Louis Breguet. In the early 1950s, the French Ministry of Defence drew up specifications with a view to purchasing chronograph wristwatches for its Air Force known as Type 20. And when it comes to civilian models, these watches are referred to as Type XX. The Type 20 or Type XX are both pilot watches equipped with a flyback chronograph, but some important differences exist regarding the design.
The watch donated by Breguet to Only Watch two years ago was inspired by the early military editions of the Type 20 with a fluted and smooth rotating bezel, a pear-shaped crown, baton hands and classic sub-counters, both identical in size and style. Although the base is relatively close, this year, Breguet has adapted the watch to make it relevant with early civilian models of the Type XX. This means several changes that make the watch, at least in my books, even more attractive than before.
The case, modelled after the original watch, is made of brushed steel and measures 38.30mm and still features rounded lugs with a polished bevel. What changes is the bezel, which adopts a notched profile and now features an engraved 12-hour scale with a triangle pointer for flight calculations. Also, the crown is flat. Finally, the screwed caseback is engraved with specific markings.
The dial and hands have also been updated, once again in line with vintage civilian Type XX models. The base, still bronze-coloured for a patinated look, features large luminous Arabic numerals. What changes is the big-eye 30-minute counter with a luminous hand and markers, as well as the central hands that now have a syringe profile. For the rest, this Type XX For Only Watch 2021 is almost a 1:1 copy of a historical watch.
The same desire for accuracy is found inside the case, as this unique piece is powered by a Valjoux 235 movement, a vintage hand-wound calibre directly derived from the Valjoux 222 used by Breguet in the 1950s and early 1960s. This hand-wound column-wheel chronograph movement has been restored and returned to service by Breguet, and of course, features the emblematic ‘retour en vol’ or flyback function, without which it could never be a true Type XX pilot’s chronograph.
The unique Breguet Type XX For Only Watch 2021 comes with a calfskin leather strap with a steel pin buckle and is presented in an airplane wing-shaped case.
Created in 2005, Only Watch is a biennial fundraiser for research on muscular dystrophy – Association Monégasque Contre les Myopathies (AMM). Organised under the patronage of HSH Albert II de Monaco, the watches of the 9th edition will be auctioned by Christie’s on Saturday, 6 November 2021. More details at www.onlywatch.com.