Type XX 3-register
My interest in “Type XX” timepieces is exclusively the 3-register flyback chronographs manufactured by Mathey-Tissot for Breguet, Girard-Perregaux, and also under the Mathey-Tissot brand.
I have never seen published material from the Girard-Perregaux or Breguet indicating that the pieces were manufactured by Mathey-Tissot, though this is accepted within the community. Similarities are so extreme between the Mathey-Tissot and both the Girard-Perregaux and Breguet that I believe both to be manufactured by Mathey-Tissot until shown otherwise. Girard-Perregaux does not have any information in their records regarding a relationship with Mathey-Tissot  and nor does Breguet.
You may read that the Girard-Perregaux is the most rare of these 3-register Type XX, though without primary source material from Mathey-Tissot, this is debatable. To date I have found slightly fewer pieces branded Girard-Perregaux than Mathey-Tissot, though not by an amount that I consider relevant to support the regular claims about the rarity of the Girard-Perregaux (though I fully appreciate that sellers do this in order to push prices higher). Breguets are by far the most common of the three, though command much higher price points (their military pieces for the Centre d’Essais en Vol (CEV) driving this). With relatively few pieces seen for Mathey-Tissot and Girard-Perregaux, we see prices climbing correspondingly higher.
What makes a Type XX?
These 3-register pieces build upon the initial specifications of the Type XX, which were first manufactured for the French Army in 1954, and are believed to include the following characteristics:
– black dial
– Arabic numerals
– luminous hands and indexes
– seconds chapter ring
– screwback case of about 38mm and less than 14mm thick
– mechanical self-winding chronograph movement with a power reserve of 35 hours
– accuracy to within eight seconds per day
– flyback mechanism
– two registers: at 3 (to measure 30 minutes) and 9 o’clock
– 12-hour bi-directional rotating bezel
– evidence of ability to successfully start, stop and reset the chronograph 300 times.
The 3-register evolution of the above specification additionally included an hour register, and either a 15 or 30 minute register. This evolution is specifically not based on military specification.
In this review, I am researching those pieces that specifically have the same case design, not a compressor-style case design, where the outside edge of the lugs are more vertical in design.
Are these watches really Type XX?
For ease of discussion, I am going to refer to the category here as 3-register Type XXs, though the Type XX specification was strictly a 2-register military chronograph , not for civilian or 3-register pieces we see later.
The model “Type XX” (and “Type 20” from Breguet) was (and still is) used as a model name for later pieces that do not follow the initial specifications as manufactured starting in 1954. So consider “Type XX” on this site to colloquially refer to the category of timepieces that came in the late 1950s and 1960s, both military and civilian, with 3-registers and steel (as opposed to bakelite) bezels.
Based on dating available from Breguet, it appears this group was manufactured starting in 1959 . No information is available from either Mathey-Tissot or Girard-Perregaux for these pieces, though the hope is that there will be information published by Breguet around the Type 20 (military) and Type XX (civilian) in 2019 or 2020 based on research by Emmanuel Breguet.
There are two websites that I recommend reading to learn more about the history of these pieces:
1. Don Indiano’s website on the history of the Type 20, and
2. The Springbar: Breguet Type 20 Generation 1 Military Issue and Breguet Type 20 Civilian, Generation 1, 2 and 3
Outside of this research
This work does not touch upon the 2-register Type XX as produced by Breguet, Vixa, Auricoste, Dodane, Airain (manufactured by Dodane), the non-existent Boullier, or the 3-register Dodane.
 Initial date of manufacture based upon the Breguet Type 20
 I have never seen the source document from the French military that specifies the requirements of a “Type XX.” Please let me know if you have a copy or know where I can locate one.
 Thanks to Wally Schweizer, Museum Curator at Girard-Perregaux, for information on company and timepiece history.
Below is my attempt to aggregate all of the 3 register “Type XX” watches manufactured from Mathey-Tissot, Girard-Perregaux, and Breguet. Some may balk at the use of “Type XX” to refer to these pieces – please read the Type XX introduction for additional comments.
We see the following case/serial number ranges, though with very limited data – many pieces are posted online without caseback images, and thus no case/serial number information.
- Mathey-Tissot: 234903-279460, 1452-1463
- Girard-Perregaux: 262674-263405
- Breguet: 979-4962
The watch represented on each row in the table is intended to be unique within this table, though given that I do not have the serial numbers for a number, the same watch may appear multiple times as images often appear online without a serial number of some distinct visual cue to differentiate.
If you see any duplicates, errors, have serial numbers to include, or know of other 3-register Type XXs to add, please drop me a note with links, images and/or information.
Description of pieces are generally based upon public images/video. For some detail, particularly movements, we do not have images and have to rely on text descriptions from the individual posting the timepiece. As a result, some movements noted in the table below are inaccurate (Valjoux 22, 72 and 726) though I have left them in the table. More detail available in the Movement section.
As with the rest of this Website, the following table, and data contained therein, is subject to Alpha Hands LLC Terms and Conditions
The above table, and data contained therein, is subject to Alpha Hands LLC Terms and Conditions
As mentioned, this research is for 3-register watches only.
Regardless of which of the three brands fit the following description (with exceptions noted in each brand section, below):
1. A running seconds at 9 o’clock, an hour register at 6 o’clock (12 hours), and a larger minute register at 3 o’clock
2. Black with white text and marks
3. Marks designating each hour (every 5 minutes) are non-luminous, relatively thick versus the opposing minute minutes, and extend to the outer edge of the dial. These marks extend as far toward the center of the dial as the other minute marks. When we see luminous marks they most often appear to be later additions to the dial.
4. Minute track of non-luminous marks that do not extend to the edge of the dial (as in above-mentioned hour marks)
5. Luminous hour numerals with exceptions of at 3, 6 and 9.
6. Numerals 2, 4 and 10 are cropped by the registers, with no luminous material extending into the registers. While there are pieces on which we see the ‘0’ in ’10’ not cropped, I do not believe this was the intended design. When we see non-cropped ‘0’s, there is no consistency in case number, and they often look flattened or simply proportionally smaller than the other hour numerals.
Again, here I am here referencing the “standard” dial, and not outlier dials, referenced below.
“FAB SUISSE” is on all dials at 6 o’clock, with the ‘SUI’ obscured by the thick 6 o’clock mark.
The Mathey-Tissot features two designs, both in white, for the brand and logo, as applicable, at 12 o’clock:
1. This design features a larger font for the ‘Mathey-Tissot’ name. The name aligns horizontally with the ’10’ and ‘2’ numerals. Vertically, the ‘M’ aligns with the left edge of the second ‘1’ in ’11’ on the dial, and the last “t” ends at approximately the right edge of the mark for 3 minutes on the minute track. There is no propeller/globe image on this dial.
2. The other design features smaller type for ‘Mathey-Tissot’, with an image of a propeller over a globe just below.
Running seconds register
Running seconds has marks at each second, with longer marks at each 5 second. There are numerals for 20, 40 and 60, with index marks that are slightly thicker than the other marks.
The ‘6’ is open by just a fraction. Seconds marks extend all the way to edge of the register.
12 hour register
There are two styles of 12-hour register:
a. The 12 hour register has marks for each 30 minutes including shortened marks at each hour, and numerals for each hour up to 12. Marks extend all the way to the edge of the register. This register has an open ‘6’ and ‘9’.
b. The second design has index marks on the half-hour, with only numerals on each hour (no marks). This register features a closed ‘6’ and ‘9’.
The larger minute register comes in two styles:
a. 15-minute register “design” and luminous marks at each 3rd mark (would be 3, 6, 9, 12, and 0/15 if running at 15 minutes). I mention this as “design” as there are a number of pieces we see that have the “15-minute register design”, but run at 30 minutes (there is some discussion about this online). I believe that given the relatively high number of pieces we see with 15-minute design but running at 30 minutes, that these are original to the watch (same holds for the other brands of Type XX discussed here). There are no numerals with this register design.
b. 30-minute register with numerals 10, 20 and 30. The marks at minutes 3, 6, and 9 are luminous, and are the longest. Marks at 5, 15, and 25 are next longest in length. All other marks at the same length, with the marks at 10, 20 and 30 differentiated by being slightly thicker than the others.
We also see one example of a Mathey-Tissot Type XX with a telemetre (Base 1000) track. Given there is just one (relumed and with yellow paint added to bezel triangle later), it is difficult to say that it was born with this configuration. This watch features the smaller typeface for branding, with propeller and dial, a 30-second subregister, no marks on the hour within the 12-hour register, and prominently cropped 2, 4, 8, and 10 due to the telemetre track presence.
In terms of what combinations we see of type/logo and registers, there are “no-globe” dials on pieces with a 15-minute or 30-minute register design.
“FAB SUISSE” is on all dials at 6 o’clock, with the ‘SUI’ obscured by the thick 6 o’clock mark in most all cases.
The Girard-Perregaux Type XX dial comes in two designs, most noticeably shown by the style of text used for the brand at 12 o’clock: either a combination of upper and lowercase, or all uppercase letters. Based on extremely limited serial number information, it appears that early productions were upper and lowercase, and the later were all uppercase.
Upper and lowercase Girard-Perregaux name
The Girard-Perregaux featuring lettering as ‘Girard-Perregaux’ will always have a minute register that has a 15-minute design, same as the Mathey-Tissot 15-minute design, with luminous marks at 0, 3, 6, 9 and 12.
All uppercase Girard-Perregaux name
The dials with branding shown as ‘GIRARD-PERREGAUX’ all have minute registers with 30-minute design. Again the design of the register is exactly as we see with Mathey-Tissot 30 minute registers, with luminous marks at 3, 6 and 9, and numerals shown for 10, 20 and 30.
Minute register design are noted above.
All dials have the same running seconds and 12-hour register design, which matches the second type of minute register design from Mathey-Tissot, above, with marks on the half-hour only, and numerals only for the hours.
There is one instance where we see the ‘SUISSE’ at 6 o’clock not obscured by the hour mark.
Unlike with Mathey-Tissot and Girard-Perregaux, ‘FAB SUISSE’ text does not appear on any dials.
Completely different very large Breguet logo
2970: Dial is different in nearly every respect in addition to the logo – the outer marks (numerals on the 5’s), hour numerals, registers, etc.
Alternative scale: Tachymeter
We also see two dials with tachymeter scales, below. While I can’t make any claims to their authenticity, whenever you see rare/uniques piece, it of course is an indicator to take a close look.
2993 (left, below): Sold at auction in 2018, this watch has clearly been serviced and at least polished. It is difficult to comment about the dial without seeing in person.
3012 (right, below): This features a tachymeter scale also, but the numerals as well as mark on the outer track are different than watch 2993, above. This watch also has a countdown bezel.
All 3-register Type XX pieces feature a flyback movement, but which one depends on the manufacturer and time period. The flyback mechanism was invented by Breitling in 1932 and patented by Longines-Francillon in 1936 ( with patent number 183262).
I have found clear movement stamping on the plate for only four pieces, two each of Valjoux 225 and 720.
If you search text descriptions of these pieces, including those posted by the owners or auction houses, you will find incorrect references in the text descriptions. Movements attributed to the Mathey-Tissot Type XX include the following Valjoux movements: 22 (no), 222 (nope), 225, 720 and Valjoux 72 (no again). For those flyback lovers, Ranfft also lists 230, 235, 237, and 725 as being flybacks.
I have never seen the movement firsthand of a 3-register GP Type XX, and the images that I have are not clear enough to see what the stamping indicates (I believe they are the Valjoux 720 based on images, but I can’t say definitively).
All references in posts on the Girard-Perregaux Type XX indicate that the Valjoux 720 was used. This seems reasonable, though I would not be surprised to see examples using the Valjoux 225.
Approximately half of the movements seen show with import code of GXM, indicating they were for the U.S. market.
As with the Girard-Perregaux, I have never seen a movement firsthand of a 3-register Breguet Type 20, and in the few images available we see the Valjoux 225 only. Many posts reference the Valjoux 720, which was also likely used.
The Breguet Type 20 has either the Valjoux 225 or Valjoux 720 movement, with either a 15 or 30 minute counter. It seems likely that the Mathey-Tissot and Breguets began production first, with the Girard-Perregaux following in initial production date.
As an aside, I have read some sites claim that the Valjoux 720 was limited to 200 pieces, though given serial number information and the quantity found, this seems unlikely.
My understanding of related Valjoux movements :
– Valjoux 22x: Valjoux 22 does not have a flyback, nor hour register. The Valjoux 222 is a modified 22 with the addition of a flyback function, used in 2-register Type XX timepieces. The Valjoux 225 is a Valjoux 222 with the addition of an hour subregister.
– Valjoux 23x: Valjoux 23 does not have a flyback, nor hour register. Valjoux 231 and 235 both are flyback, again used in 2-register Type XXs. Valjoux 230: 2 register, flyback 
– Valjoux 72x: The Valjoux 72 has three registers and no flyback function, whereas the 720 adds the flyback function. The 725 has flyback, introduced in the 1970s, with a higher beat rate . The 725 “minute register is usually 30 minutes, but can be 15 minutes in the 2nd generation Breguet Type 20…”, which interestingly is similar to what we see for the Mathey-Tissot 3-register Type XX.
 The original Type 20 military chronographs, Don Indiano
 The famous Valjoux column wheel family of chronographs, John Hannover
All three brands utilize 12-hour bi-directional count-up bezels, with numerals in black paint. The “6” and “9” numerals are “open” in style.
The 12 o’clock triangle appears in both black and yellow, and as with the Girard-Perregaux and Breguet, I believe either may have been original to the watch.
The 12 o’clock triangle appears in both black and yellow, and varying on enough examples (with both colors on both dial styles) that it seems likely that the triangles may have been black or yellow originally.
The 12 o’clock triangle is seen far more often in black, though some examples are yellow.
There are two examples known with different bezel types with numerals, and one additional with no numerals:
1. Countdown from 55 to 0. This watch also features a tachymetre dial.
2. Count-up from 0 to 60.
3. No numerals, dots only for each hour, including where at the 12 o’clock position.
I do not believe any of these three to be original.