Heritage watches are all well and good but it’s equally nice when iconic brands like Breguet release contemporary timepieces that push their collections forward, which is the case with the new Type XXI 3815 Chronograph Limited Edition. It’s the counterpart to the vintage styled Type XXI 3817 from 2016 but takes a sportier, modern approach to the French Airforce inspired pilot’s chronograph.
At first glance, the case is strikingly similar to the 3817 and that’s no bad thing, sharing the same 42mm diameter and fluted caseband for superior grip. What is new is the use of titanium instead of steel, making the 3815 exceptionally scratch resistant and lightweight, in keeping with its sporty aspirations. The case is completed by a screw down crown for 100m water resistance and a black lacquered bi directional rotating bezel with a 60 minute scale.
Where the 3815 deviates dramatically from previous iterations is the dial. Foregoing the traditional tri compax layout for a more streamlined bi compax one, with small seconds at 9 o’clock and a 24 hour indicator at 3. It maintains the classic central hours, minutes and chronograph hands and has a date window a 6. The effect is a much sleeker overall design that’s less cluttered, a feeling enhanced by the refined subdial scales and greater proportion of bare dial on display.
An important attribute of aviation timepieces is readability and the Type XXI 3815’s Arabic numerals are available in either luminescent green or orange, which make them stand out from the black dial. Day or night, legibility will never be an issue. Personally, I think the orange is nicer as it appeals to the up tempo feel of the timepiece better, but green is the colour of the 2021 in watchmaking for a reason. Regardless of your preference, the colours are echoed in the stitching of the calfskin leather strap the watch is presented on.
Housed inside is the Calibre 824Q/A automatic chronograph movement with flyback function, which is also equipped with Breguet’s most up to date silicon balance spring alongside other innovations we’ve seen before. The result is a 48 hour power reserve with good anti magnetic properties, ideal for aviation. It’s a great movement but considering that the 3815 is billed as a contemporary take on the range, it would be cool if the movement didn’t have practically the same specs as its vintage inspired predecessor.
Considering the number of insane timepieces on the market using ultra modern and experimental materials in an endeavour to push watchmaking into the next millennium already, it’s refreshing to be reminded that progress doesn’t need to be more complicated than a redesigned dial and a fresh case material. But what else would you expect from Breguet than carefully considered haute horology and the Type XXI 3815 Chronograph typifies their classy approach to style. It’s available in a limited edition of 250 pieces per colourway.
If this has whet your appetite for more Type XXI goodness then you’ll also be pleased to here that next week we’ll be publishing a hands-on video of the Breguet Type XXI 3815 Chronograph. Check out our YouTube channel for more.
Price & Specs:
Model: Breguet Type XXI 3815 Chronograph
Reference: 3815TI/HO/3ZU, 3815TI/HM/3ZU (green numerals, hands,
Case/Dial: 42mm diameter, titanium, black sunburst dial, orange or green luminescent numerals, hands and markers
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: In house Breguet Calibre 584Q/A, automatic, flyback chronograph, 26 jewels, 323 parts
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power Reserve: 48h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, 24 hour indicator at 3 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock, date
Strap: Calfskin leather
Price/Availability: £12,900, limited to 250 pieces per colour (orange or green)
More details at Breguet.