Breguet Type XX Flyback Civile
Breguet has a long a storied history which is much more involved than I will attempt to explain. In short, they are one of the most established manufactures in watchmaking. A large section of that history is intertwined with French military watches. The ‘Type’ Breguets were a not really a model, but a designation given to watches that fit a certain military criteria for the French Aeronavale. Breguet marked only 500 military case backs with their own insignia. They pioneered the flyback chronograph design, but were one of six manufacturers to employ a similar Type 20 style piece for military contract. After those military runs, Breguet also made a much larger run of civilian versions for the market in period. Here is one example.
The 38mm case is a perfectly tasteful size, even today. The minute-scale bezel complements a well matched hand & dial set. At 35-hours, the power reserve from the Valjoux 235 is large enough to satisfy most modern users. Most of these era Type 20s have been timed to an accuracy of 8 seconds +/- per day, close enough for most vintage watch collectors. It’s a surprisingly versatile piece. The Plexiglass crystal and thick lume are extra charm points, nice reminders of times long past.
The example here comes on a very fitting simple-stitch black leather strap and I wouldn’t change it. The case is unpolished (or very lightly) and unmarked for the most part. Lugs shine straight and true. The lume appears very aged but hasn’t crumbled, a mark of a well mixed original application.
There is mildly controversy around these civilian Type XXs among hardcores. Many are only interested in those with a military past. It is known that some less honorable retailers will enscribe case backs of civilian versions with military markings, muddying the waters for the market. However, in my opinion, the civilian version is just as attractive from both a mechanics and design standpoint—and with a much more palatable entry price. The Breguet signed dial I find particularly gorgeous on these. It is a very charming watch and lovely example at that. This one comes with an extract of archives from Breguet.
Find this Type XX here on Chrono24 for an undisclosed sum.