A very rare and attractive stainless steel military chronograph wristwatch with black dial

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  • Manufacturer: Breguet
    Year: 1955
    Case No: 7710
    Model Name: Type XX
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Valjoux 222, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Nato
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case signed. Caseback further engraved with multiple "Fin de Garantie" markings.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Breguet Certificate confirming sale of the present watch to the "Ministère de l'Air" (French Airforces Ministry) on June 17, 1955

  • Catalogue Essay

    More than “just a model name”, Type XX was the project code used by the French Ministry of Defense to define the specifications of a military watch that would equip the pilots of their naval forces. At the beginning of the cold war, the French government decided that they needed to have their own military watch. In the mid-50s they presented the specifications to different watch brands including Breguet. The watch had to be very legible at night with a black dial and large Arabic luminous numerals. Movement wise, the watch needed to be accurate within eight seconds a day and have a power reserve of more than 35 hours. But the most important feature was a flyback chronograph to allow pilots to reset and restart the chronograph instantly. It would also feature a rotating bezel to remind the wearer of a specific event such as its fuel reserve!

    The present watch is part of the exceptionally rare issued watches to survive in such good condition. Over the course of its history the Breguet Type XX was produced either in a military or a civilian version. To keep the readability of the issued watches, the dial did not display any information such as the brand or the model name. Only the caseback was engraved with Breguet, Type 20, 5101/54 and then further engraved with FG and a date. Interestingly, the caseback of this watch bears a large number of these inscriptions starting with FG which stands for “Fin de Garantie”: end of guarantee in French. These engraving were made by the watchmaker that would have serviced the watch to inform the pilot when he should have his watch serviced next. This watch bears inscriptions almost every 2 years from 8.56 to 13.2.79. Among the brands that have been commissioned by the French Ministry of Defense to produce the Type XX, Breguet is the one that has gone down in the collective conciousness as the French Aeronaval’s watch!

  • Maker Bio

    Breguet

    Swiss • 1775

    Established in 1775 by Abraham Louis Breguet, widely considered the greatest watchmaker of all time, the storied brand continues to thrive in the modern era, creating exceptional high-end watches as the Swatch Group's premier prestige brand. Some of the most important and lasting inventions in watchmaking are attributed to Abraham Louis Breguet, including the tourbillon, shock resistance and the use of hammers and gongs employed in nearly all minute repeating watches made since.

    Eighteenth and nineteenth century Breguet pocketwatches are especially sought-after by collectors, and many of them were made for the elite of European society, including Napoléon and Marie Antoinette. Key wristwatches from the twentieth century include oversized dress watches, two-register chronographs, triple calendars and Type XX aviator's chronographs made for the French military and civilians.

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120

Breguet

A very rare and attractive stainless steel military chronograph wristwatch with black dial

1955
38mm Diameter
Case signed. Caseback further engraved with multiple "Fin de Garantie" markings.

Estimate
CHF12,000 - 18,000 
€10,300-15,400
$12,700-19,100

sold for CHF43,750

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018