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  • Manufacturer: Breguet
    Year: Circa 1954
    Case No: 7139, No 5101/54
    Model Name: Type XX
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Valjoux 222, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel riveted bracelet, overall max length 190mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case numbered and signed. Caseback further engraved with multiple "Fin de Garantie" markings.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Breguet’s Type XX was delivered to the pilots of French naval forces beginning in the mid-1950s. Commissioned by the French Ministry of Defense, they sought a multipurpose chronograph wristwatch with flyback function, which allowed the pilot to quickly reset and restart the chronograph instantaneously to aide in navigation. The “type” designation was not a specific model name for a particular brand, but rather it was the project code used by the French Ministry of Defense to define the specifications, which were presented to several watch brands including Breguet. These included a black dial with easily readable Arabic luminous numerals, a 38mm diameter case with screw back for water-resistance, a bi-directional rotating bezel and accuracy to within eight seconds a day. Breguet’s “Type XX” became the best known of these military chronograph watches.

    Breguet’s Type XX was produced either in a military or a civilian version over the course of its history. To maximize the legibility of the military-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.

    Its original, matte black dial is a wonderful canvas for the luminous Arabic hour markers that have turned to an elegant light brown color. This lovely Type XX is being sold to benefit The Institute for Digital Archaeology, a non-profit organization promoting digital techniques in archaeology, epigraphy, art history, and museum conservation. It is a must have timepiece for any savvy collector.

  • Artist Biography

    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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16

A very rare and highly attractive stainless steel military flyback chronograph wristwatch with black dial, sold to benefit the Institute for Digital Archaeology

Circa 1954
38mm Diameter
Case numbered and signed. Caseback further engraved with multiple "Fin de Garantie" markings.

Estimate
$12,000 - 18,000 
CHF11,000-16,500
€10,200-15,300
HK$93,000-140,000

Sold for $20,160

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas & International Strategy Advisor
Senior Vice President
+1 212 940 1293
[email protected]

Racing Pulse

New York Auction 12 December 2020