Grand dame Breguet is the physical manifestation of watchmaker extraordinaire Abraham-Louis Breguet’s inquisitive and creative mind when he founded the Maison in 1775. Technically astute and elegantly poised watches are what one would normally associate with Breguet, but not always. Besides the Marine collection, there is also the more robust Type XX family, the latest example of which is the Type XXI 3815.
Created in the 1950s, the Type XX coincided with a series of events that unravelled in tandem. First, Louis Charles Breguet — great-great-grandson of Abraham-Louis — began pursuing his interest in aviation under the company name Breguet Aviation in 1911. The second was during the World Wars when the Aéronavale procured watches for its military pilots and named these the Type 20. It was not until the 1960s when the second-generation pieces were produced commercially and renamed the Type XX. The implosion of the Swiss mechanical watch industry during the quartz crisis relegated the Type XX to Breguet’s archives before finally making a comeback in 1995. Fast forward to the 21st century, Breguet debuted the Type XXI in 2001, with the Type XXI 3815 released on the back of the 2016 vintage style Type XXI 3817.
The differences in visual cues are obvious compared with its predecessor because of the contemporary approach for the 3815. From the outset, a contrasting black lacquered bi-rotating bezel injects much of the youthful energy that is matched by the vibrantly coloured Breguet Arabic numerals. A choice of either lime green or tangerine numerals is available for this limited edition run with 250 pieces made per colour. Titanium is the choice of material for the 3815, following the original 2001 edition.
Breguet opted for a cleaner and less cluttered dial layout with a small second hand and 24-hour indicator bi-compax style execution. A series of recesses are employed on the dial giving a semblance of depth to the 3815. The flyback chronograph with central chronograph minute and second hands is a familiar touch that fans can instantly recognise. Powered by the calibre 584Q/A, Breguet’s reverse in-line Swiss lever escapement with silicon horns and silicon balance spring are advanced touches for a thoroughly contemporary package as Breguet prepares itself for its 250th anniversary in a few years