Breguet’s Type XX collection of pilot-inspired chronographs are a modern testament to the Swiss watchmaker’s familial connections to the world of aviation, forged by the founder’s great-great-grandson Louis-Charles Breguet, a pioneer in the field of manned flight. Following up the most recent addition to that sport-luxury collection, 2016’s vintage-influenced Type XXI 3817, Breguet this year pilots the model into a more avant-garde, sporty territory with the launch of the Type XXI 3815 chronograph.
Contrasting with the steel case and sober, gray-toned dial of its predecessor, the Type XXI 3815 features a 42-mm case made of lightweight, corrosion-resistant titanium and a sunburst-finished, deep black dial with brightly colored, luminous hour numerals and hands. The case retains some vintage flair, like the finely fluted caseband that made the early models easier to grip by pilots’ gloved hands, but adds some decidedly contemporary touches, like the black-lacquered 60-minute scale on the titanium bidirectional bezel. Water-resistant to 100 meters thanks to its screw-down crown, the case boasts a combination of polished and satin-brushed finishes on its surfaces.
The dial’s large Arabic numerals are in either luminescent orange or luminescent green. Its layout differs notably from that of the 3817 by its use of two counters, rather than three, to display the watch’s functions. Neither of the two — a 24-hour indicator at 3 o’clock and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock — are in fact used for the chronograph readouts, which are instead tallied on a precise outer minute track by two hands in the center, one each for elapsed seconds and elapsed minutes. Joining these displays is a date window at 6 o’clock.
Like the 3817, the 3815 models offer a view of their movement behind a sapphire exhibition caseback. Breguet’s manufacture Caliber 584Q/A is a mechanical self-winding movement that is equipped with a flyback function for the built-in chronograph and incorporates several elements made of high-tech silicon that have become hallmarks of modern Breguet calibers, including an inverted Swiss lever escapement with silicon pallets and a silicon balance spring. Beating at a frequency of 4 Hz, the movement offers a 48-hour power reserve, amassed by the swinging of a hand-decorated gold rotor.
Both versions of the Breguet Type XXI 3815 come on a brown calfksin leather strap, whose contrast stitching echoes the colors of the dial details, either orange or green, and fasten securely to the wrist with a triple-folding buckle. Both are limited to 250 numbered pieces, priced at $14,900.