Before diving into Breguet Type XXI Ref.3810TI/H2/TZ9 presentation, imagine that you are in the year 1775. The world is at the beginning of the industrial revolution. The Watt’s steam engine is at its first working prototype. Captain Cook just finished first East-bound circumnavigation. A revolution just started in America (not united states yet) and Mozart finishes Sonata for Keyboard in C. And these are just a few things from that particular period. It’s been more than 240 years ago when the watch, as we know it today, started its long journey to become the mechanical marvel we appreciate today. It all started with a small boutique in Paris, opened by Abraham Louis Breguet.
Breguet is responsible for several innovations that are still present in the mechanical watches we are using today. According to Wikipedia.org, these are the main innovations:
- In 1780, invented and produced the world’s self-winding/automatic watch (the Perpétuelle);
- In 1783, invented the Gong-spring, laying the foundation for minute repeaters;
- In 1783, invented the Breguet hands;
- In 1790, invented the Pare-chute, one of the world’s first shock protection systems;
- In 1795, invented the Breguet overcoil or Breguet spiral, widely used in watchmaking industry to this day;
- In 1801, invented tourbillon, balancing the effect of gravity;
- In 1810, invented and produced the world’s first wristwatch (Breguet No. 2639);
- In 1929, created the world’s first (possibly) perpetual calendar movement for wristwatches (Breguet No. 2516);
- In 2010, patented the magnetic pivot, used to improve watch precision using magnetism;
- In 2010, introduced the magnetic strike governor.
The watch I want to present you today is the Type XXI, which, in my opinion it’s so underrated these days. Of course, it is one of my all time favorites. I think I could write a book about this watch after observing it for 3 years since I have it, but I’ll try to be short with this article.
The watch reiterates Type 20 chronograph made for the French Army in 1950’s. For sure Breguet wasn’t the only supplier. The fluted case of 42mm is made of titanium, therefore perfect for me. The bezel has a perfect bidirectional action, the dial is black with recessed sub-dials covered by a sapphire crystal with antireflective coating on the inside. The titanium bracelet is the best I have ever seen because it has a delicate look and a tough feeling.
About the movement? Excellent. Caliber 3810, obtained from a heavily modified Lemania 5100 with an added complication of Flyback or “Retour en vol” as stated on dial. The movement is self winding, with 25 jewels running at 4Hz or 28800 Vph, 45 hours power reserve and incorporates 319 components – impressive number. The best thing about this movement is that the chronograph has a center minute chronograph hand under the chrono seconds hand. Of course, the movement incorporates also some old in-house innovations which you can see on the above list from Wikipedia.
Overall, Breguet contributed a lot to the modern wristwatch. These contributions helped other companies to produce almost every mechanical watch seen in the past 200 years.
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