1954 Breguet Type 20 Military Flyback Chronograph (Ref. 5101/54) "Sterile Dial"

$ 26,250

When it comes to the names that have shaped the landscape of watchmaking as we know it today, there are few that have been more influential than Abraham-Louis Breguet. Credited with numerous horological innovations ranging from multiple different automatic winding systems to even the tourbillon itself, Breguet left an indelible mark on the watchmaking industry and his eponymous brand is one of the oldest still in operation today, with a rich history that dates all the way back to 1775.

Though this historical watchmaking house built its name through meticulous design and innovation, most of which were far ahead of its time, they didn't always create complicated horological works of art. In 1954 the French Ministry of Defense required a pilot's chronograph suited for the specific needs of the Air Force, specifications of which Breguet was more than capable of fulfilling. So the French MOD swiftly authorized Breguet for the contract and the Type 20 chronograph was immediately thrusted into horological history. While the Type 20, and its civilian counterpart the Type XX, may seem like a drastic departure from Breguet's elegant design language and it is aesthetically, the internals of the Type 20 are where the story starts to add up. Breguet employed a modified Valjoux cal. 222 movement for the Type 20 and Type XX, which famously features a flyback chronograph function and was also a strict requirement from the French Ministry of Defense for this pilot's watch.

1954 Breguet Type 20 Military Flyback Chronograph (Ref. 5101/54) "Sterile Dial"

Impressively, the Type 20 from Breguet was in use for decades and was supplied to the French Air Force from 1955 to 1959, the Flight Test Center between 1956 and 1957, and the Naval Air Force in 1960. As these chronographs were technically the property of the French Military, they were given to pilots as part of their equipment kits and were regularly maintained by the French military's watchmakers to ensure accuracy in the field. However, due to this consistent maintenance almost all of the examples that remain today feature some element of replacement parts, both aesthetic and internal, as these watches were made to be tools and tools alone. In contrast to the typical mentality within the watch community, and because the Type 20 is so well-documented, these from-factory modifications are embraced and recognized within the community, with minimal effect imposed on the value. 

1954 Breguet Type 20 Military Flyback Chronograph (Ref. 5101/54) "Sterile Dial"

We are proud to present this beautiful and well-maintained military-issued Breguet Type 20 flyback chronograph. Featuring a 1954 production date engraved on the back along with an extensive service history engraved that tracks all the way to 1982 on the outside of the case back, and even further inside. This example features a highly collectible "sterile" dial, which lacks any text on the dial outside of the required numerals, and is actually a very late model service dial that employs luminova lume in both the dial numerals and hands, making the watch very functional to this day.

Stock # BGTFBTYP20
Brand Breguet
Style Type 20 Military Flyback Chronograph
Model 5101/54
Serial 73XX
Size Men's
Material Stainless Steel
Dial Matte Black "Sterile"
Millimeters 38
Strap 2pc Canvas Cloth Strap



The exceptionally well-preserved and angular case exhibits minimal evidence of previous polishing or wear, with the original case design geometry still very intact and present to the naked eye. The original coin-edge rotating bezel is in remarkable condition overall. The case pushers are in excellent, operational condition. The large onion-style crown remains crisp and is believed to be a later military service replacement. The case back retains all of its original factory markings along with extensive F.G. or “Fin de Garantie” markings which watchmakers used to mark the next recommended service interval for the watch. The watch will come supplied on a 2pc canvas cloth strap.


The matte black "sterile" dial with luminova Arabic numeral markers and luminova hands is in virtually flawless condition and remains functional. The luminova lume in the dial and hands features a deep olive coloration with no degradation present and will hold a glow for an extended period of time.


None. The last official military service documented on the watch appears to be from 2004, which we believe is when the modern components were added to the watch.

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