The history of the Breguet Type 20 (later reissued as Type XX) is indeed fascinating and involves a collaboration between various entities. Here's a breakdown of the key points in its history:
Origin and Specifications:
In 1954, the French Ministry of Defense (MOD) issued a set of stringent requirements for a wristwatch to be used by their pilots. These specifications included features like a flyback chronograph, a highly legible black dial, durability to withstand 300 uses without servicing, accuracy within 8 seconds per day, and a diameter between 37-39mm. The MOD assigned the designation "Type 20" to this pilot's wristwatch.
Manufacturing and Assembly:
While Breguet is often associated with the Type 20, it's interesting to note that Breguet did not actually manufacture any of the watches themselves. Instead, they collaborated with other watchmakers for the production. One of these manufacturers was Mathey-Tissot. The 2,000 Type 20 chronographs were sold by Breguet to the French MOD, but Mathey-Tissot was responsible for assembling the 5101/54 model for Breguet.
Mathey-Tissot, a Swiss watch manufacturer, played a significant role in the creation of the Type 20 watches. They produced a civilian version of the Type 20 that closely resembled the Breguet model. This civilian Mathey-Tissot Type 20 utilized the same specifications and components: the case, dial, and the Valjoux 222 movement were all made by the same manufacturers to match the Breguet's standards.
The Breguet Type 20 chronographs served in the French Air Force and Marine Nationale Aeronautique Navale (Aeronavale) during the 1950s and 1960s. These watches were crucial tools for pilots and navigators due to their precise timekeeping and chronograph functions.
After the watches underwent their final scheduled service, most of the 2,000 Type 20 military issue watches were collected and destroyed by the French MOD. As a result, these watches have become highly sought after by collectors due to their rarity and historical significance.
Legacy and Reissue:
The Breguet Type 20's reputation as a classic pilot's chronograph has endured over time. The watch's design and historical context have contributed to its desirability among watch enthusiasts and collectors. In later years, Breguet reissued the Type 20 under the name "Type XX," maintaining the essence of the original design while catering to modern preferences and technology.
In summary, the Breguet Type 20's history is intertwined with the French Ministry of Defense's specifications, the collaboration between Breguet and Mathey-Tissot, and the watches' service in the French military. The role of Mathey-Tissot in assembling the Type 20 watches is a lesser-known aspect, as is the existence of the civilian Mathey-Tissot Type 20, which is rarer in numbers than the Breguet version but shares the same specifications and components.
SINN TYPE XX
SINN TYPE XX
Scew-Back case and black dial and three sub-dials Type XX. The 15-minute and 12-hour subdials at 3 and 6 o'clock, the permanent seconds subdial at 9 o'clock. The stainless steel bezel can be turned in both directions and has a triangle at 12 o'clock and shows minute markers. The outer case back is signed with a serial number. The movement is a manual wind Valjoux 72 calibre and signed under the balance.
Serial number 6 digits starting with 275 XXX.
The outer case back is signed with a serial number. The movement is a manual wind Valjoux 72 calibre and signed under the balance.
Serial Number 6 digits starting with 275 XXX
Serial Number Mathey-Tissot: 234903-279460
- Case Diameter: 38,6 mm
- Overall Height: 15 mm
- Lug Width: 19 mm
- Manual Wind Chronograph
- 60s, 30min, 12h
- Column Wheel
- Small Seconds
- 17 Jewels
- 18.000 A/H