Stunning. Absolutely stunning, This version of the Breguet Type XXI chronograph, a model dating back to the 1950s and designed for the French Naval air force, is in platinum, and just one piece will be made, to be auctioned on 7 November 2015 in Geneva as part of the Only Watch charity event benefiting research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The Type XXI was great from the start but this version has something extra, perhaps the dull gleam of platinum, the dark grey dial, vintage-colour SuperLuminova, the dull brown shade of the strap: it all works together to create an image of a superbly functional timepiece. The detailing is superb: the three-dimensional numerals, delicately curved; the classic Breguet fluting on the caseband; the hands, all different; the differentiated levels of the dial.
It’s a flyback chronograph, but with an unusual subdial layout. Continuous seconds at 9 o’clock. A day/night indicator at 3 o’clock, showing the same time as the main display but on a 24-hour scale. Chronograph hours at 6 o’clock, with date in a truncated pyramidal window.
Chronograph minutes and chronograph seconds are shown on two central-sweep hands, the second hand with a needle tip, the minute hand with a pierced oval tip.. The crown is used for time-setting and rapid date correction, and it is screwed down into a secured position, that enables the watch to have a waterproof rating of 100 metres.
The case of this version is in platinum (the watch is already available in titanium, rose gold and steel versions) and 42 mm in diameter. It has a solid caseback. The automatic 584Q-calibre automatic movement provides 48 hours power reserve and runs at 28,800 vph (4 Hertz). Below, detail of the caseback:
Breguet and aviation
Louis Charles Breguet was a descendant of Abraham-Louis Breguet, founder of the brand, and was a pioneer of aircraft design. He founded his company, Breguet Aviatiion, in 1911, and it went on to create many aircraft, right up to 1971 when it merged with Dassault. Perhaps due to this family interest, the Breguet watch company supplied aeronautical instruments to pilots from 1918, and they developed both a series of wrist watches and instrument panel timepieces.
Below, the Breguet Type XXI in the rose gold version, reference 3810BR/92/9ZU: