Breguet Type 20 Civilian, Generation 1 , 2 and 3
An earlier article looked at the development of the Type 20 watch specification and the development of the Breguet Type 20 model which you can read here.
At the same time as the military model was being developed, and produced, civilian pilots, and other professionals required similar watches, and these were produced and sold to the civilian market.
Breguet has had a long association with civilian aviation over more than 100 years.
This article covers civilian Breguet Type 20 models, starting with Generation 1, moving to Generation 2 and then Type XX, the third Generation, which is still continuing.
The Generation 3 + models are not covered in detail, as these are currently available and can be easily found on the web.
CIVIL MARKET GENERATION 1 VERSIONS
2 REGISTER MODELS
Breguet started producing type 20 models for the civilian market at the same time as it was working on the Military version. Some 2000 pieces were sold between 1953 and 1970. 
Breguet Type 20 civilian models from the 1950s and 60s come in many variations: engraved or blank bezel, different calibres (such as Valjoux 22, 222, 225, 235 720 or Lemania 1377), and two or three sub-registers.
The model below was sold to Société d’Aviation Louis Breguet on February 3, 1953 for 27,000 old French Francs. The dial is signed 1164 which is also engraved on the caseback. The sub-registers have pie tin dials, and the hands were to become the characteristic syringe style, and an arrow sweep second hand.
Another of the earliest is this model sold on 23 February 1953, which also has many similar features to the Type 20, 5101/54 model produced for the Air Force. Since these models predate production of the Air Force model, they may well have been prototypes forming part of the discussions with the Military about the Type 20 specification.
The civilian models came in a variety of styles, and a Breguet signed watch similar to the Type 20, 5101/54 is shown below, but with a large 30 minute sub-register with a propeller hand marked at 3,6,9 with thick, long lume indexes. Syringe hands with long thin pointers. The nick name “Big eye” is sometimes applied to this model due to the larger 30 minute sub-register. Case number 8114. Unmarked bezel.
This model below has a rare small Breguet logo, and the graduated bezel of the CEV type 20 model, but has a 30-minute register with a propeller hand and with 3,6,9 marked with longer index markers and lume dots at every 3 minutes. A thin skeleton propeller sweep hand is used.
3 REGISTER MODELS
Three register civilian models also existed, all with an engraved bidirectional rotating bezel. An early model is shown below.
This model has a different type of face for the 4 and 7 numerals, seen in the early military models. A thirty-minute sub-dial is used.
The model below is similar to the CEV Type 20 model with no numerals on the 15 minute register, and thin subregister hands. There are no numerals on the chapter ring either.
The model below is a 3 register version with a very rare count down bezel and an internal tachymeter scale. It has a 15 minute, unmarked sub-register.
This model above has a numbered chapter ring, and the use of broad lume on the 15 minute sub-register is another feature in this model, and small radially placed 3, 6, 9 and 12 minute markers, together with a large and rarely seen Breguet logo. Case number 2970.
Below is another model, case number 3375, with a 0 to 12 bezel, and with a dial very similar to the dauphine hand model above, with applied lume at the 5 minute markers.
The model below has a case number 3385, 10 more than the case number above. This has a propeller second hand, a 30 minute sub-register, and a numbered chapter ring. The bezel is marked 0 to 60.
Only 3 of this 2 register Type 20 are known, this is production number 1780. These were produced in 1955. Case number 1745 is shown in the earlier 2 register section. This has a propeller sweep second hand and a different sub-register.
BAKELITE BEZEL VERSIONS
Above is an uncommon version with curved lugs, possibly a transition model to the 1970’s models below.
1970s SECOND GENERATION BREGUET TYPE 20
The release of the second generation Model 20 to the public was in the 1970‘s after Chaumet had took control of the brand in 1970. This model had a black anodised bezel which rotated in one direction, and the case was changed and had squarer lugs.
This version existed in both two and three-register layouts, with, respectively, the caliber Valjoux 235 and 725 (and maybe Valjoux 726 in some cases), both offering the flyback function that the original military contract stipulated.
The 1970s Breguet Type 20 has a screw-in case-back, a diameter of 40.7 mm, a thickness of 13.8 mm, and comes with 2 or 3 registers on a matt black dial.
Hands were syringe with long thin pointers, and the minute sub-register at 3 o’clock totals 15 minutes with broad divisions every 3 minutes, and an oversized sage leaf pointer.
Model below is 2 register version, which had a bezel marked 0 to 60, and either a thin second hand or an arrow second hand.
3 REGISTER VERSION
The three register version had either of 2 bezels. Below is a bezel marked 0 to 12. The hour sub-register at 6 is marked 0 to 12, but otherwise the dial is unchanged from the two register version, with arrow head sweep second hand.
The generation 3 series of models is continually expanding as XX, XXI, XXII, and as these are modern variants, they can be easily found on the internet, and will not be dealt with here in great detail.
The XX models are covered below, and design features relate to the Type 20 models.
The Type XX (not the Type 20) was launched in 1994, just before the Swatch Group acquired Breguet. The Breguet caliber 582 movement is used, which started its life as the Lemania caliber 1350 but with the addition of a flyback function. The case is 39mm.
3800 Aéronavale without date – polished bezel, multi-layered matt black dial, polished bracelet or leather bracelet. Gold plated and pink gold plated on leather bracelet as well. Platinum model of 100 units.
The hands and the 15 minute sub-register are reminiscent of those in the Type 20. The sweep second hand is a dot lollipop.
3800BA is a solid yellow gold Aéronavale, a rare model with black or dark blue dial.
3800BR is a solid rose gold Aéronavale, a rare model with a dark blue dial.
3800PT platinum Aéronavale with black dial, as a limited edition of 100 pieces (made in 1994).
Celebrating 100 years of Aeronavale as a military branch. Breguet created this new limited edition of 1000 pieces Type XX Aéronavale Ref. 3803ST watch for the 2010 Anniversary.
Inside the watch is a Breuget Caliber 582 automatic flyback chronograph movement.
The piece has unique features for a Type XX model such as a black lacquered rotating bezel with figures in relief, and slightly bigger than the one of the 3800. An exclusive winding-crown and a special marking with the official emblem of Centenary of the Naval Aeronautics at the back of the case. Finally, this watch will be delivered with a special box and a limited edition certificate.
3807ST Aéronavale without date – Special Issue, exhibition caseback, polished bezel, glossy dark Cobalt blue dial, polished bracelet, made in 1998–1999 (approximately 2,000 pieces).
3820 Transatlantique (3800 with date at 6 o’clock) – circular brushed dial released later than the Aéronavale. The date window is at 6 o’clock.
This model came in numerous versions : White gold, pink gold , stainless steel, platinum, and titanium with various dials including carbon fibre. Only a couple are shown below.
3820TI titanium Transatlantique with a black carbon fiber dial. (Carbon fiber and titanium are high-tech materials widely used in the aviation industry.)
3820BA/BB/BR solid gold Transatlantique (in yellow gold, white gold and rose gold) with deep blue, black or white dial.
3820PT platinum Transatlantique with blue dial.
3827PT platinum Transatlantique édition limitée with a salmon dial and display back (limited edition of 90 pieces).
With alarm , but no chronograph functions. Steel or gold.
Limited series of 500 pieces which used the same movement as the Classique Ref.3600 from 1992–1993, namely the Breguet 579 (based on the Lemania 2980 / Lemania SL 980), although its alarm indicator only shows the hours while that of the Classique has the minutes and the hours. This caliber has automatic winding for both the time and the alarm.
The 3810 model is larger in diameter at 42mm. It was introduced in 2004 and features the 584Q movement with central chronograph minute’s hand (like the Lemania 1340and the Lemania 5100) and has a 24-hour indicator. The words Retour en vol are written on its dial. Despite what its name suggests, the Breguet Type xxi has no special relation to the French Type 21 military specification.
Various case types exist, titanium, red gold, pink gold steel.
OTHER BREGUET TYPE 20 MODELS
While there were several official manufacturers of the military Type 20 model, there were also some who made civilian versions.
Since Mathey Tissot assembled the Type 20 for Breguet, it is no surprise that several versions of their Type 20 model exist, with both two and three sub-registers. One is shown below. These are not discussed in detail in this article.
Dodane manufactured Chronofixe models which were not supplied to the military. One such model is shown below with a count down bezel and dial almost identical to the Dodane Type 20, which did not have Type 20 on the dial. The minutes sub-register is uniquely 6, 12, 18, 24, 30.
What is surprising that there are a handful of Girard-Perregaux three dial versions as well, with a Valjoux PG 720 movement.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR BREGUET TYPE 20
The starting point would be the model which started the watch series, the Breguet signed civilian version of the model 5101/54 for the French Airforce, with reeded dial.
A classic model is the Breguet second generation model, with 3 sub-registers.
The grail would be a brown faced 3 register civilian version of the CEV Type 20 model. A price approaching $30,000 could be expected for a good model.
From The Spring Bar Store: