Many of us associate the name Breguet with watchmaking milestones, but fewer may be aware of its historic connection to the world of aviation. Louis Charles Breguet, great grandson of horology icon Abraham-Louis Breguet, was an aeronautical pioneer who developed the gyroplane (forerunner of today’s helicopters) as well as the storied Breguet XIV and Deux-Points airplanes in the early 20th century, the golden age of aviation innovation. The Breguet watch company, still run at the time by the founding family, worked with Louis Charles’s firm in the development of, first, chronograph mechanisms for cockpit instrument panels and then, in 1935, its first chronograph wristwatches for pilots. The most famous of these, the Breguet Type XX, made its debut two decades later. Commissioned by the French armed forces, this timepiece would be the watch of choice for the French air force and naval pilots up until the 1980s.
The modern collection that evolved from this enduring icon, the Breguet Type XXI, added a new model at Baselworld 2016: the Breguet Type XXI 3817, which not only boasts an all-new slate-gray dial but also, for the first time in this vintage aviation-inspired collection, a see-through sapphire caseback.