One of the new releases at Baselworld this year from Breguet is the Type XXII 3880, now available in an 18 carat rose gold case. As with all Breguet watches the case is beautifully crafted and exceptionally finished, enhanced with details like a fluted caseband and round end lugs. The case measures 44 mm in diameter with a bi-directional 60 minute scale bezel.

A screw locked crown ensures water resistance to 100 meters. The brown dial compliments the rose gold very nicely and features sunken sub dials, applied rose gold arabic numerals, and printed below the Breguet script “retour en vol 10 Hz” (flyback 10 Hz in french). The brown leather strap has red and white contrast stitching which matches perfectly with the red and white minute markers on the main dial.

Being that Breguet was one of the pioneers of the flyback technology, as you would expect from a Type XXII the chronograph is a flyback and naturally the 10 Hz frequency is capable of recording times all the way down to 1/10th of a second accuracy which is impressive for a mechanical chronograph. Displaying such a small sliver of time on a watch dial while keeping it legible is next to impossible so Breguet came up with a unique solution.

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The central mounted chronograph seconds hand makes one revolution of the dial every 30 seconds instead of the typical 60 seconds you are accustomed to. This allows graduations of 1/10th of a second to be displayed and legibly read on the dial, plus it just looks plain cool to see the second hand speeding around the dial twice as fast as other chronographs. It also sweeps incredibly smoothly. The chronograph minutes hand is also centrally mounted which makes reading the recorded minutes faster and more natural than trying to read it on a 30 minute sub dial.

Alternating red and white dashes within the chronograph minutes graduation indicate whether the seconds hand is in itʼs first (red sectors) or second (white sectors) 30 second revolution. The 3880 also has a dual time indicator which is read on the sub dial at 6 oʼclock with a standard 12 hour format. The sub dial at 3 oʼclock displays the second time zone on a 24 hour format to indicate whether it is day or night. This can be used to track a second time zone or can be set to your home time when traveling.

The screw locked crown has a second position which will allow the hour hand on the main dial to disengage from the movement and jump forward or backward in one hour increments. The movement continues to run while the hour hand jumps to synchronize with a new time zone when traveling, keeping the 3880 accurate to the second even while making time zone adjustments. An aperture located inside the 6 oʼclock sub dial displays the date which is linked to the time shown on the main dial. The running seconds sub dial at 9 oʼclock moves very swiftly as it makes one full revolution every 30 seconds, a constant reminder of the ultra high frequency movement powering it.

Being no stranger to innovation and pushing horological technology forward, Breguet has developed in-house the Cal. 589F flyback chronograph movement. This movement runs at an ultra fast frequency of 10 Hz which is 72,000 vibrations per hour. To put this into perspective, many modern automatics run at 4 Hz (28,800 vph) and watches like the Zenith El Primero and Grand Seiko High-Beat have long been referred to as “high frequency” running at 5 Hz or 36,000 vph. This Breguet is running twice as fast as these other high frequency movements which is quite impressive.

It is not simple to develop a movement that can run reliably at a high frequency, especially in the realm of 10 Hz. Of course a movement running this fast can cause much more wear on components and can quickly run into lubrication problems. In order to combat these problems which are inherent to high frequency movements, Breguet has used a silicon escapement and silicon balance-spring. The 27 jewel self winding movement contains a Breguet balance wheel, is adjusted to 6 positions, and has a 40 hour power reserve. Retail price is $35,500. (Ref. 3880BR/Z2/9XV)

Posted by:Chris Clark