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  • Condition Report

  • Description

    View our Conditions of Sale.

  • Manufacturer: Breguet
    Year: 1962
    Case No: 615
    Model Name: Type XX “Big Eye”
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. Valjoux 222, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Dial signed Breguet.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1775, Abraham-Louis Breguet, widely considered the greatest watchmaker to ever live, founded Breguet in Paris. In 1810, he produced the company’s first wristwatch. His fourth generation descendant would later found the French aircraft manufacturer, Breguet Aviation – makers of Europe’s best warplanes during WWI and WWII. The family tie would lead Breguet to supply the coveted Type XX military watches to the French military under their commission. Between 1954 and 1970, Breguet delivered the Type XX to the French Navy and Air Force.

    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.

    Previously offered in Phillips’ historic sale of vintage chronographs, START-STOP-RESET, the present Breguet Type XX is offered in spectacular condition. The caseback, with bold case number engraving, is razor sharp, with beautifully brushed finishing throughout the sides of the case as well. Serial number 615 bears the “Big Eye” dial configuration featuring an oversized 15-minute chronograph register. Furthermore, the dial has aged to a lovely shade of mocha and features large luminous Arabic hour markers and its original matching luminous hands. At half a century old, it is an extremely rare Type XX wristwatch variant due to its rotating metal bezel. The robust 38mm case with screw-down caseback houses the Valjoux caliber 222 featuring the ultra-desirable flyback function, and protected by the original dust cover. This complication provided improved accuracy for aviators by no longer requiring the wearer to use the stop function prior to resetting the chronograph.

    Coming from the “Ride the Wave” collection, it is fitting that a waterproof chronograph chosen by the French Navy for its pilots would appeal to this esteemed collector and enthusiast of all things aquatic.

  • 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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25

A stunning and extremely rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with oversized register, tropical dial, and rotating bezel

1962
38mm Diameter
Dial signed Breguet.

Estimate
$20,000 - 40,000 
CHF18,700-37,300
€17,800-35,600
HK$156,000-312,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293

[email protected]

 

The 2021 New York Watch Auction

New York Auction 11 - 12 December 2021