New Sight of the Amazing Replica Breguet
It’s rather simple to pigeonhole a brand, often unfairly. As far as I am concerned, my first association with the replica Breguet was all fluted cases, engine-turned dials and valuable metal cases. To be fair, the brand does all those things exceptionally well, but you know what else they do quite darned well?
It turns out that Breguet, not content with nailing the brief when it comes to dress fake watches and innovating left, right and centre are also quite the dab hand when it comes to pilot’s watches. However, there is no connection between Louis Charles’ aeronautical business and the Type 20 chronograph that inspired the Type XXI 3817 that we’re looking at today.
It’s crucial to notice that Type 20 and 21 chronographs used by the French Air Force in the early ’50s were made by a variety of suppliers. A group of six brands produced them according to a set of minimum requirements covering off form and function, with important features being the fly-back chronograph, rotating 12-hour bezel and some fairly rigorous accuracy requirements. Of those brands that made these tool replica watches, the Breguet’s examples are the most coveted by collectors today.
In the ’90s, Breguet realized the potential of this design, releasing a civilian version – the Type XX – in 1995, with the larger Type XXI following in 2004. We’ve seen many variations on these in the subsequent years, but 2016’s Type XXI 3817, with its world-weary dial and perfectly proportioned case, is perhaps the most handsome yet.
For me, what stood out first were the old-world Arabic numerals, in slightly aged luminous material. The fact the color of the hands and bezel pip is mismatched by a shade or two only makes it look even better, while the dial in slate grey instead of black makes this a more low-key proposition. You’ll notice the sub-dial at three has some discreet altimeter-style markings – this indicator is actually a 24-hour time display and the markings are very subtle day/night indicator.
The view is just as fine from behind, with the calibre 584 Q/2 on full display – and what a movement. Based on a decades-old Lemania calibre, executed in Breguet’s typically top-notch style, with typical movement design paired with silicon technology, this is the first time one of their pilot’s fake watches has had a clear case-back, and we’re glad it’s happened. That guilloche-inspired gold rotor alone is worth the price of admission. Actually, simply put, if you’re on the hunt for a pilot’s cheap replica watch that gives history, heritage style and all-round hotness, then the search is over: the fake Breguet Type XXI 3817 takes us back to a time when air travel was both chic and daring.