Breguet is offering a one-of-a-kind watch to support Only Watch, the major international charity project sponsored by the Monegasque Association against Muscular dystrophy. This biannual event has been held since 2005 and has benefited from the support of Breguet and the high patronage of HRH Prince Albert II since the very beginning. An exceptional auction sale conducted by Christie’s will be taking place in Geneva for the benefit of medical research on muscular dystrophy on Saturday, November 9, 2019.
The watch created by Breguet exclusively for the Only Watch 2019 charity auction is a unique piece based on Type 20, the iconic pilot watch.
The House of Breguet showed an early interest in watches designed for aviation, highlighting how watchmaking should contribute to progress in air navigation just as it had done previously for marine navigation. From 1918 onwards, the House of 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.
These instruments gradually became chronographs with counters and tachometers, which could either be worn by the pilots or affixed to the plane’s dashboard. Breguet continued to provide increasingly sophisticated chronographs to various aviation and aircraft companies. However, the most important chapter in the history of the Breguet pilot watch began with the Type XX.
In the early fifties, the French Ministry of Defense drew up specifications with a view to purchasing chronograph wristwatches for its Air Force, to be known as Type 20. Drawing on its experience in this area, Breguet expressed its interest and designed a model that was quickly approved by the authorities. The year was 1954 and the legend of the Type XX had just begun.
The Type 20 was introduced as a pilot watch equipped with a flyback chronograph, the emblematic function of this watch. The flyback function allows for the chronograph function to be reset to zero by simply pressing the lower pushbutton, simplifying the pilot or team members’ operations and offering the possibility of recording several consecutive times.
It is worth noting that in the house’s books, the military models are referred to as Type 20 and the civilian models as Type XX. The Type XX chronograph evolved through three successive generations, each with several varieties that today arouse a growing desire among collectors.
In homage to both watchmaking and aviation, Breguet is reissuing a unique version of its Type 20 pilot chronograph from the fifties in a form that is very faithful to the original, both esthetically and mechanically.
Its steel case preserves the historical diameter of 38.30 mm, the unique curved horns with lateral bevel, and the pear-shaped crown, typical of the first-generation military models delivered to the French Air Force and Naval Air Force. From this desire for accuracy, the new model is equipped with a bidirectional bezel in fluted steel without graduations, along with triangular markings for flight calculations.
The dial of the watch is inspired by the very rare civilian and military models with a bronze colored dial sold at the time. Some black dials also took on a shade of bronze after long exposure to the sun. The Type 20 Only Watch 2019 displays small seconds and a 30-minute totalizer. It offers sharp legibility in all conditions and sports the distinctive hands of the historical Type XX watches, which are treated with Super-LumiNova®, as well as the large Arabic numerals. A notable difference between the Type 20 Only Watch 2019 and the Air Force’s historical model is the Breguet signature at 12 o’clock.
The Type 20 Only Watch 2019 is faithful not only visually to the watch that it is inspired from, but also in its movement: the Valjoux 235 13 lignes, which is derived directly from the Valjoux 222 14 lignes used in the fifties. The movement blank of this manually wound, column-wheel chronograph was restored back to working order, so as to ensure the Type 20 Only Watch 2019 is endowed with the same proportions and functions. This movement is, of course, fitted with the flyback function, without which it could never be a true Type 20 pilot chronograph.
The Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019 is equipped, like the original, with a steel screw-down caseback, which offers water resistance up to 30 meters. On the caseback, the owner of this Only Watch 2019 exclusive watch will find an inscription that reads: “Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019 Pièce Unique”. This model will be offered in a presentation box shaped like an airplane’s wing.
Model: Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019
Round steel case
Solid caseback with engraving “Breguet Type 20 Only Watch 2019 Pièce Unique”
Diameter 38.30 mm
Thickness 13.90 mm
Bidirectional rotating bezel with triangular markings for flight calculations
Water resistant to 3 bar (30 meters)
Bronze colored, signed Breguet
Hours chapter with luminescent Arabic numerals
30- minute counter at 3 o’clock
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
Central chronograph counter
Mechanical manually wound movement, column-wheel chronograph with flyback function. Numbered and signed Breguet. Cal. Valjoux 235. 13 lignes. 17 jewels
45-hour power reserve
In-line Swiss lever escapement
Annular balance wheel
Flat balance spring
Frequency 3 hertz
Unique piece for Only Watch 2019