Breguet Type 20 Sterile Dial 1956 Unpolished, Unrestored
Our watch served in the French military for 20 years with all the service and decommission dates engraved on the perfectly legible case back. The dial and case are completely unrestored and near mint. The hands were re-lumed because legibility maintenance was required by the French military. The hands are original and the restoration does not diminish the value of this watch in our opinion.
Pure function-first design including a highly legible sterile dial with luminous Arabic indices, rotating bezel with coin edge grip, and an oversized aviator crown for easy winding with gloves set this model apart. The Breguet Type 20 Sterile Dial Chronograph is one of the top watches in three categories: military, aviator and minimalist design.
Pump pushers operate the Valjoux 222 column-wheel chronograph movement with 60-minute counter and subsidiary seconds. Large luminous hands – including a lovely chronograph seconds hand – tie the package together in perfect balance.
The Type 20 model was designed according to a standard that the Aeronautique Militaire issued in the 1950s. Aesthetically, the Type 20 with its stark black dial, bold Arabic numerals, and 38mm stainless steel case resembled other military chronographs of the era. But the Type 20 had to have a fly-back function, in French, retour en vol that enabled the pilot to stop, reset and start the chronograph again by depressing the bottom pusher just once.
The watch was the culmination of a long standing relationship between Breguet and the French Air Force dating to World War I. Amongst collectors of military watches, the Type 20 models are perhaps the most sought after with military use Sterile Dial variant commanding the most collectability. It’s the first time that manufacturer responsible for many of the greatest innovations in Haute horology dipped their toes into the world of military timepieces.
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