Breguet Type 20 Ministerie de lairSold
Breguet Type 20 Ministerie de lair
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Breguet, a company known for inventing and producing high complications and making some of the world’s most elegant dress watches, was also responsible for the most beautiful and important pilot’s watch ever made.
In the 1950s, the French Naval Air Force (Aéronautique Navale) commissioned seven French watch companies to create a chronograph wrist watch for its pilots. Specifications for the watch included, among others, a chronograph with flyback functionality, a 38 mm stainless steel case, a 35-hour power reserve, and an accuracy of 8 seconds +/- per day.
Among the various versions produced by the contracted firms, the Breguet ones are the rarest and most sought after. Beside the small run of military issued watches—which Breguet refers to as the Type 20 in its archives—it also released civilian versions (which it calls the Type XX) that are still part of the collection to this day.
This Type 20 dates back to 1955 and is one of the earliest military executions produced by Breguet. This model is a two-register version with a remarkably sharp case, the original ridged bezel, and thick onion-shaped crown. The all-original black dial is in amazing condition with thick painted numerals that have patinated to a beautiful pumpkin hue, perfectly matching the color of the handset. A cool detail on this particular dial is the elegant Breguet signature at the 12 o’clock position, which is uncommon on military versions of the watch.
This exceptionally rare watch comes with an extract of the Breguet archives and a hand-written letter by Emmanuel Breguet which indicate that the watch was delivered to the Ministère de l'Air in 1955.