Hands-On With The Funky Breguet Type XXI 3815 In Two Different Colors
The Breguet Type XXI 3815 is a colorful addition to the already existing vintage-inspired Type XXI 3817 that was introduced in 2016. The Type XXI has its roots in a larger and more complicated iteration of the famous Type XX. Breguet’s Type XXI 3815 comes in two different colors — orange and green — and we have both.
The Breguet Type XXI 3815TI/HO/3ZU (orange) and 3815TI/HM/3ZU (green), are limited to 250 pieces each, so 500 in total. The new Type XXI we have here looks similar to the Type XXI 8515 but uses a 42mm case made of titanium. By using the vivid green and orange on the lacquered dial of the Type XXI 3815, the watch becomes a bit more of a contemporary version of the classic Type XXI. But does it work? Can you turn a classic aviation watch into something, let’s say, loud?
Breguet Type XXI 3815
I have to be honest here. The Breguet Type XXI was not so much on my radar, as a Type XX Aeronavale is the one I have on my wishlist for a long time now. I always felt the Breguet Type XXI was a bit too big (although 42mm is more than reasonable for me) and has too much going on on the dial. It has a central chronograph second and minute hand, a 24-hour indicator, and a date aperture. Wearing the Type XXI 3815 for a week did change my opinion, though. It seems I am not as purist as I would like to think I am. Either that or I am simply just more open to new things, these days (to put a more positive spin on it).
Type XX and XXI
Suddenly, after wearing this new Breguet Type XXI 3815 for a bit, the looks of the Type XX Aeronavale 3800 started to look a bit bland. That’s not just due to the use of green or orange but also because of the steel bezel of the Type XX 3800 and the lack of all the extras on the dial. Still, if you want to play safe, the Type XX 3800 is an incredible watch, but so are the 3817 and 3815, of course. Anyway, I will stop ranting about these different variations.
Titanium Type XXI
What I find interesting is the choice of the materials for the case and bezel. Titanium. It’s not something I would immediately associate with Breguet, not even with the brand’s sportier watches like the Type XXI. But Breguet went down this road for practical reasons. It makes the Type XXI 3815 light-weight and more resistant to corrosion. The somewhat darker look of (brushed) titanium does enhance the tool watch character of this watch.
In the end, the Type XXI is still the aviation-inspired watch that goes all the way back to the first half of the 1950s. Just like the British MoD, the French also started looking at watches to supply to their airforce. This led to the Type 20 designation by the French, and it had very specific requirements, including a chronograph with a flyback function. Not only Breguet started supplying these watches, but also other watchmakers created their Type 20 watches for the French navy airforce. In the mid-1990s, Breguet revived its Type 20 and came up with the Type XX. Not much later, in 2004, Type XXI came about.
Orange and Green
I don’t have much information about the choice of the colors the Breguet Type XXI 3815 is offered in, but in the end, it will be a matter of taste anyway. The watches are completely identical except for the use of the colors and the straps.
As a Dutch person, you would say I am more inclined to prefer the orange, but I like the look of the green slightly better. But I am also aware there are persons out there collecting watches with anything orange. On both watches, the readability is perfect. Large Arabic numerals and bright hands make it very easy to read watches.
As with all Type XXI models, the watch has two central chronograph hands for the seconds and minutes, there’s a running seconds at 9 o’clock, a 24-hour indicator at 3 o’clock, and a date aperture at 6 o’clock. As required by the French Ministry of Defence for the Type 20, the Type XXI also has the flyback function. In terms of functionality or movement, this watch is identical to the other Type XXI in the Breguet collection.
Ticking inside is Breguet’s caliber 584Q/A movement. It consists of 323 components and 26 jewels. This movement ticks at 28,800vph and has a power reserve of 48 hours. It has a very nice finish that can be observed via the sapphire case back, including the hand-decorated gold rotor. You can find the report of our visit to the Breguet manufacture here. Bert, our photographer, and I took the trip together to get some insights into the brand’s watchmaking departments.
Wearing the Breguet Type XXI 3815
A 42mm watch on a leather strap is not something that demands to be in titanium for its weight. I have plenty of stainless steel 42mm watches that wear very comfortable on a leather strap. Weight to me is never really an important or decisive factor when I buy a watch. But I have to admit that the lightness of a titanium case on a leather strap, with a titanium buckle, is somehow more comfortable. Wearing it with short sleeves, like a t-shirt or a polo, also made me visually aware that the watch was always there. The Breguet Type XXI 3815 is definitely a nice wearer on the wrist, the size and weight are perfectly fine for daily wear.
Breguet’s Type XXI 3815 comes with a very nice and comfortable folding clasp. The buckle is signed “Breguet” and fits the style of the watch very nicely. It is a functional block of steel that reminds me more of a dog tag than the usually more extravagant fasteners. Both watches come on calfskin leather straps, one with orange stitches and the other one with green stitches.
Price and availability
As written above, each watch will be limited to 250 pieces each. The watch will have its unique LE number engraved in the case back (X/250). In Swiss Francs, the price will be CHF 14,500 including VAT. Since availability is low, it’s best to check with your local Breguet boutique or an authorized Breguet dealer on availability and ordering.
More information via Breguet online.