Video: Our First Impressions of The New Breguet Type XX Ref. 2057 & 2067

Video: Our First Impressions of The New Breguet Type XX Ref. 2057 & 2067

Hotly anticipated, Breguet has unveiled the fourth generation of its iconic pilot’s watch in the form of two new eye-catching models: One geared towards the military, the other aimed at civilians, with each taking cues from classic Type XX references. Enjoy discovering both of them through our exclusive video and live pics.

By Marco Gabella
Chairman & Executive Publisher

Ahead of its official launch in Paris today, the Watchonista team had the privilege of discovering Breguet’s brilliantly updated Type XX at Manufacture Breguet in the Vallée de Joux.

Returning to the roots of the Type XX, Breguet is now offering collectors two fresh editions of this iconic flyback chronograph: Ref. 2057 – inspired by a first-generation Type XX delivered to the French Air Force in the 1950s – and Ref. 2067, which pays homage to an early civilian edition from the same decade.

As you will discover in our video, these two new Breguet Type XX models are not just a pair of tributes to the past, but veritable contemporary interpretations of a legendary tool watch. While each version possesses its own allure, my personal pick has to be the military-inspired Ref. 2057.

Supplier to the Skies

In the 19th century, Breguet became synonymous with time-measurement instruments to aid maritime navigation. But during the following century the company began positioning itself as a specialist in timekeeping tools to support the burgeoning aviation industry.

As early as the 1930s, Breguet was developing horological devices destined for aircraft instrument panels, critical for measuring flight time and intermediate flight times, or monitoring fuel consumption. This line would go on to include the widely used Type 11, Type 11/1 and Type 12 on-board chronographs.

It was in the 1950s that Breguet began making aviation-specific wristwatches in earnest when the company learned that the French Air Force wanted to equip its pilots with a chronograph wristwatch – dubbed the Type XX by the French Air Ministry – that met a range of specifications: a flyback function, a black dial with luminescent hands and numerals, a robust movement resistant to rapid changes in pressure and acceleration, and a rotating bezel.

Breguet responded by submitting Type XX prototypes in 1952 and, two years later, the French Air Force placed an order for 1,100 units of Breguet’s military-grade Type XX.

It featured an unsigned black dial with 30-minute counter, non-engraved bidirectional bezel, and the references Type 20 (which would be replaced by Type XX on subsequent generations) and 5101/54 engraved on the caseback. The company went on to deliver these between 1955 and 1959.

During our recent video and photo shoot, we were lucky enough to examine an original Ref. 5101/54, bearing the sub-reference 7211, in the metal.

The New Military-Inspired Breguet Type XX Ref. 2057

For a while now, watch collectors have had an inkling that Breguet may return to its first-generation Type XX 5101/54 for inspiration, and with the new Ref. 2057, that is exactly what we’ve got.

While Ref. 2057 preserves the identity and functions of that classic tool watch geared towards military use, it packs a decidedly contemporary feel in addition to harnessing modern-day watchmaking innovations that are thoroughly in keeping with what you would expect from Breguet.

Staying faithful to the 1950s Type XX, the Ref. 2057 has a deep black dial with syringe-shaped hands, non-engraved bidirectional bezel, pear-shaped crown and flyback chronograph function with 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock.

Touches of Modernity

Its steel case, however, is 42mm in diameter instead of the original 38mm, and now offers 10-bar water resistance. Meanwhile, the hands, numerals and bezel triangle feature a mint-green shade of lume, and the 30-minute counter is now larger than the small seconds at 9 o'clock. What’s more, a date window has been added between 4 and 5 o’clock.

We also now have a sapphire crystal display back through which you can glimpse the movement. Naturally, this is no longer the manual winding Valjoux 22 which equipped the Type XX back in the day, but the new automatic Calibre 7281 that Breguet has spent four years developing.

Not only does this movement boast an ultra-efficient, single-press zero-resetting mechanism for the chronograph function, but it also offers very solid chronometry over its 60-hour power reserve thanks to its 5 Hz balance frequency and high-energy-density mainspring, as well as its anti-magnetic hairspring, escape wheel and pallet-lever horns which are all made of silicon.

Civilian Option: The New Breguet Type XX Ref. 2067

The new Type XX Ref. 2057 definitely gets my vote for its punchy presence on the wrist, but watch aficionados can also opt for the rather fetching new Ref. 2067, designed for civilian use.

Seven decades ago, when the French Air Force sought its first Type XX, the brands it selected for public contracts could also sell the same product to private customers, which led to the production of military Type XXs and civilian Type XXs.

The new Type XX Ref. 2067 is a direct descendant of Breguet’s civilian Type XX models, specifically inspired by a 1957 reference bearing the individual number 2988.

Smart Sand-Colored Accents

The Ref. 2067 has the same black dial and case dimensions as the Ref. 2057, but understandably differs in other respects given that it faithfully takes its cues from an entirely different reference model.

For a start, it has a 15-minute counter at 3 o’clock and 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and, as such, is powered by the differently configured Calibre 728. What’s more, its numerals, hands and bezel triangle are treated with a smart sand-colored lume, and the bezel is emblazoned with a 12-hour graduated scale.

The Ref. 2067 is a fine addition to the Type XX line, though it was the Ref. 2057 that I kept going back to during our hands-on photo and video shoot.

Whichever model you choose, both are delivered with a set of two quick-change straps – one in calfskin leather, the other a NATO fabric strap – in a rather cool wing-shaped presentation case.

Pricing & Availability

Priced at $18,000 excluding taxes, the Breguet Type XX Ref. 2057 and Ref. 2067 will be available at official Breguet points of sale. For more information visit the Breguet website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel, video by Johan Corminboeuf)

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