The Breguet Type XX (and the Type 20!) are Back in a Pair of Vintage Inspired New References

When it comes to pilot chronographs, particularly military inspired pilot chronographs, the Type XX sits at the top of a very large pile of well loved and highly collectible watches. Most often associated with Breguet, the Type XX is analogous to the “Dirty Dozen” W.W.W. field watches produced by a number of manufacturers in the WWII years on a contract basis for the British Ministry of Defense. In the case of the Type XX, it was the French military who contracted watchmakers to create a high spec chronograph. The requirements were specific and rigid: black dials, chrono registers at 3:00 and 9:00, the capability to time events up to 30 minutes, a 38mm case, and a 12 hour bezel among them. Mathey-Tissot and Dodane were among the brands charged with manufacturing these watches along with Breguet. Over the years, the style of this simple pilot’s chronograph has influenced countless other brands and has been straight up copied by many, and along the way it became a staple of the modern Breguet lineup. That is, until the contemporary Type XX was discontinued a few years ago. Now, the Type XX is back in a fairly big way, in two different versions with two different names that I promise are not confusing at all. 


Announced yesterday, Breguet has unveiled an all new Type XX (the civilian version) and a Type 20 (the military version). References 2067 and 2057, respectively, both carry aesthetic elements from classic versions of the watch, but have some subtle (and also some pretty major) differences from one another, and from the Type XXs of 70 years ago. These watches also debut brand new calibers from Breguet, and appear to have the ultra-premium finishing and execution we’ve come to expect from the brand, with a few potential exceptions that we’re sure collectors will discuss with the usual verve on social media and the forums. 

Let’s start by looking at the Type 20, the purely military inspired version of the watch. The specific inspiration for the 2057 reference was a series of 1,100 chronographs delivered to the French Air Force in the late 1950s, which distinguished themselves by a “Type 20” designation as opposed to the more common “Type XX.” The rotating bezel here is sterile, save a lumed triangle that allows for additional flexibility in event timing. The chrono layout is a two register, “big eye” design, with the 30 minute totalizer at 3:00 being significantly wider than the running seconds register at 9:00. The hands are syringe style, and the watch sports an onion crown, both nods to the original vintage examples. 

The Type XX is based on a civilian version of the watch that dates to 1957, and it has several key aesthetic differences as well as a few major functional differences from its counterpart. Most obviously, this chronograph has a three register layout, with a 12 hour totalizer added at the 6:00 position (the 3:00 minute totalizer is still oversized on the Type XX). The bezel is of the 12 hour variety, which is ironically more in line with the preferred originally military spec of the Type XX, giving the wearer an opportunity to track a second time zone. The crown is oversized but low profile, the hands are alpha style, and the lume has been colored to appear aged, whereas the Type 20 uses a more contemporary mint green shade. 

The movements are both new to the Breguet lineup. Caliber 7281 powers the Type 20, and Caliber 728 powers the Type XX. The 6:00 totalizer on the Type XX is the differentiating factor here – the movements are otherwise very similar and use the same watchmaking tech, which includes the use of a flat silicon balance spring and a column wheel with a vertical clutch. Both have a power reserve of 60 hours, and can be seen through exhibition casebacks. 

And now, we’ve finally come to the design choice that you’ve perhaps been chomping at the bit to discuss: the 4:30 date window. Unsurprisingly, this has already riled up many in the online watch world. Date windows have existed on Type XXs since the late 90s (a date indicator was not part of the original military spec for these watches) but they were commonly located at the 6:00 position. In my opinion, the date has never looked particularly graceful on a Type XX, as Breguet can’t seem to hide it effectively – it tends to grab the eye’s attention immediately. This date window execution at 4:30 is tucked away between the 4 and 5 hour markers, and right under the large minutes totalizer, creating a bit of a visual traffic jam in the corner of the dial. Also, the window is color matched to the dial, but the numerals are not matched to the hour indicators, which on the one hand makes everything easy to separate with the eye, but on the other hand creates some color clashes that might not be desirable, especially with the aggressively colored lume on both references. It’s a little all over the place, and I think some people who love a busy dial will not have an issue with it, others who love the Type XX for its clean, simple, and classic design will probably need to avert their eyes. 

The other potentially controversial choice with these new references is the case size. The original Type XX was always meant to be a compact and somewhat discreet watch to wear, with a 38mm suggested size. The new Type XX and Type 20 have identical steel cases measuring 42mm in diameter and 14mm thick. Now, that’s far from oversized in the world of contemporary pilot watches, but it betrays vintage references slightly, and Type XX fans clamoring for a slightly more modestly sized version of the watch will not be completely out of line in doing so. 

The new Type XX and Type 20 are both available now through Breguet retail channels. The retail price is $18,000. Breguet

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.