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Breguet Transatlantique Type XX

by Jason 27 May, 2010 View Comments

Originally launched in the 1950s as a pilot's chronograph for the French air force, the Breguet Type 20 Transatlantique faded into obscurity for many years, overshadowed by flashier and more complicated pilots chronographs. That was, until Breguet decided to re-issue the Transatlantique as the Type XX / XXI flyback chronograph.

It's a shame that the original Breguet Transatlantique was overshadowed by the busier pilot's chrono designs, because it was one of the most elegant pilot's watches of the time. While the busier designs have their use, it's refreshing to have something simple. Somehow, the Transatlantique seems to suit the French commission perfectly - this is an elegant chronograph, simple and classic, devoid of superfluous function. And the Type XX is just as beautiful as the original.

Breguet Transatlantique on Wrist

Breguet Transatlantique

At first glance you'd think the Type XX is a well-kept vintage watch. It has a parabolic sapphire crystal that looks like an acrylic item, classic hands and fonts on the dial, and the Breguet signature coin-edge finish on the case. Nice little details abound, like the square-edged finishing of the bi-directional rotating bezel - fans of 1950s Rolex Submariners will recognize this type of bezel edge with its distinctive wafer pattern. Or the simple stove-pipe pushers that engage with a solid click, familiar to anyone who has handled a Lemania handwound chronograph. Top this all off with a fine genuine crocodile strap and you have a watch that is more than a retro homage - it's more like a re-edition. The only noticeable difference between the new and the vintage is the width of the bezel.

Breguet Transatlantique Side

Of course, what's under the hood is totally modern. The Type XX features a Breguet 582 calibre chronograph with automatic winding and a flyback function, so you can reset the timer with only the lower pusher and instantly restart the countdown without stopping it. Experts will notice it has a diving-watch type elapsed-time bezel rather than a tachymeter/telemeter/slide rule bezel you normally see on pilot's chronographs - this is because the original Type 20 was designed to measure elapsed timing by combining the bezel and the flyback function.

Breguet Transatlantique crown side

The movement is quiet, smooth winding, and features an easy-to-read date at the bottom of the dial in a contrasting colour. Our example was completely overhauled by Breguet in Switzerland and is in as-new condition with the original box, so you won't find a nicer example without buying a new one.

Breguet Transatlantique Close-up

Breguet Transatlantique Back

If you are interested in seeing the Type XX, feel free to drop by our shop on Crescent street in downtown Montreal, or give me a ring at 514 845 8878. You can also get in touch with us through our contact page or Facebook fan page.

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