Breguet - The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN Geneva Saturday, May 12, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Breguet
    Year: 1965
    Case No: 2993, inside case back further hand-engraved 668PB
    Model Name: Type XX
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Valjoux 720, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 38.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Dial signed, case numbered
    Accessories: Accompanied by Breguet "Attestation" confirming production of the present watch in 1965 and its subsequent sale on July 16, 1965 for 538 French Francs

  • Catalogue Essay

    Military-issued timepieces fully exemplify the appeal vintage watches have on collectors: utilitarian tools which over time transcended their intended nature to effectively become works of industrial art. Indeed, the demands various armies had for specific military features are what eventually brought to life timepieces which are set apart, both technically and aesthetically, from watches without military ties.

    One of the best known and appreciated among such military timepiece is Breguet's Type XX. First commissioned by the French Army in 1954, the Type 20 was intended as a navigational tool and its defining feature was the flyback function, invaluable to a flight navigator. Furthermore, it had to sport at least 35 hours of power reserve, a 300-start-stop-reset-cycles reliability, and an accuracy no less than +/- 8 seconds per day. The Type 20 was commissioned to a number of companies: Airain, Auricoste, Dodane, Seliva Chronofixe, Vixa and Mathey Tissot. It would actually seem that Mathey Tissot also manufactured some Breguet’s Type XX in the 1950s. Interestingly, Breguet is the only one of these companies to officially use the Roman Numeral style: Type XX.

    While originally intended as military timepieces, a civilian version was eventually commercialized, recognizable by the absence of military markings to the back and the Breguet signature on the dial. The present watch is an extremely interesting example of such civilian-issued Type XX. Breguet Type XX from the 1950s and 60s come in a plethora of variation: engraved or blank bezel, different calibres (such as Valjoux 22, 222, 225, 235 720 or Lemania 1377), two or three subsidiary dials.

    The present piece features one of the least commonly seen and most aesthetically striking details to ever appear on this model: a tachymeter scale. Research of the piece with the Breguet Archives discovered that the watch was sold on July 16, 1965 to M. Ducharne for 538 French Francs. Furthermore, it appears that precisely during those years (1965-1970), Breguet supplied such tachymeter dials on special request. This leads us to believe that, most probably, the present timepiece was issued after a special request of Mr. Ducharne, making it one of the most appealing and rare Type XX to be offered for sale in recent years.

  • Artist Biography


    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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A very fine and extremely rare stainless steel flyback chronograph wristwatch with tachymeter scale

38.5mm Diameter
Dial signed, case numbered

CHF25,000 - 50,000 

Sold for CHF75,000

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018