BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
Breguet is a classical brand in every sense, and it’s also my favourite watch brand. For me, it all started on a visit to their London boutique a few years ago, where the staff there were the kindest and friendliest of all staff in dealers I’d ever been to. I can’t begin to describe how much of an effect it has on you when the person on the other side of the table has exactly the same passion for the product as you. But, then again, that’s how Breguet operates these days: through passion. A quick read of the Le Quai de L’Horloge books in their boutiques will show you how the brand as we know it today was resurrected as a passion project by Nicholas Hayek, founder of the Swatch Group. Breguet is where he came not to work but to have fun and enjoy horology at its finest.
The new Type XXI 3815 Limited Edition watch features that same passion for both watchmaking and historical inspiration. Perhaps the defining feature of this particular brand is that it makes very old designs (we’re talking late 1700s mainly) look as if they’re brand new. Granted, the design basis for the Type XX range of watches is much newer, the 1950s to be precise, but the historical inspiration is still there.
I’ll admit, as much as a fan of the brand as I am, the design of this one looks a little weird. The Big-Eye chronograph dial layout is a bit strange without a third subdial to provide balance. It seems like it’s squinting at me. I should be clear that this unusually odd sizing of subdials isn’t unusual for the Type XX range. Look closely at the Type XX, and you’ll see that all three subdials are a different size. I’m just not sure it works here. It’s unique, though.
And, while the appearance of the dial and the usage of fauxtina lume may not be to everyone’s tastes, the execution of the watch is as faultless as it gets. The 42mm x 15.2mm titanium case features a titanium bezel, Breguet style coin-edging down the sides of the case and a sapphire crystal caseback, allowing us to see the automatically-wound calibre 582Q/A. This movement is an integrated column-wheel chronograph movement with a 48-hour power reserve and 4Hz beat rate. It’s also got a stunning white gold rotor and has been finished to a very high standard, Breguet standards.
There are two versions of this piece, one with orange lume and one with green. Both of them come with a black dial and a leather strap and have a 100m water resistance rating which is unexpected given this is more of a pilot’s piece than one for the poolside.
Only 250 examples of each will be made, and they’ll cost $14,900 apiece. It sounds high, but you’re getting a hell of a lot of watch for the money, and it’s a Breguet which is exceptionally unique in the watch world.