The Watch Before The Icon: Breguet’s First Ventures In Wristchronographs

With the Type XX is Breguet one of the very few watch brands that have an iconic chronograph in their stable. This watch did not appear out of the blue, as from 1935 on Breguet was already building its first wristwatches with chronographs. Later on, they would evolve into the Type XX, but even those early chronographs had a distinct appeal to them, like this model from 1938 proves.

Breguet chronograph 1938
It is difficult to say what stands out the most about this watch; is it the black dial with copper-colored printing and matching hands, or the stainless steel case with remarkable wide lugs? What we can say is that combined they give the watch a lot of character, as well as an appearance that was in those years ahead of its time. Today, it also makes the watch surprisingly more wearable then its 32.5mm diameter would make you believe. Unfortunately, it is quite unlikely to spot this watch on a wrist somewhere, as its rarity and value usually prevents this from happening.

Breguet chronograph 1938
Breguet made this particular watch in 1938 and sold on June 10th, 1939. For its age it is in a remarkable, all original condition. The dial has turned a bit ‘tropic,’ and the case has a few scratches, but other than that is it as good as it was on the day it was manufactured. Next to the dial, is it also the shape of the chronograph pushers and the crown that lend character to the watch. They seem to be inspired by the aviation industry, in which the Breguet-family also fulfilled a pioneering role.

Breguet chronograph 1938
That aspect, combined with the Type XX that would follow in the 1950’s, make this Breguet chronograph such an extraordinary watch. This chronograph is among the first watches in a category new to Breguet, yet in which the brand would also firmly leave its mark. It further shows that the innovative spirit carried on in the firm, long after the passing of its illustrious founder.

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