This where the flash should stand...

Two centuries of Breguet chronographs

19/11/2009

Exhibition at the Cité du Temps, in Geneva, from November 19, 2009, to January 24, 2010.
The exhibition is designed as a salute to two centuries of Breguet chronographs, which is to say two centuries of ceaseless inventiveness and technical advances.
Breguet’s many current innovative developments include for example the world’s most compact self-winding column-wheel chronograph. There’s also a world first: the Marine Tourbillon Chronograph, incorporating the first tourbillon-equipped movement with a silicon escapement (escape wheel, lever and balance spring).
“Two centuries of Breguet chronographs” also features Type XX chronograph with the flyback function alongside later Type XXI models with a stylish black rhodium-plated dial face and more generous dimensions. Breguet designed such chronographs in the 1950s for the French Air Force and the French Naval Air Arm. Extremely reliable and robust, these chronographs feature the flyback function typical of pilot’s watches and were designed to withstand the sudden accelerations typical of jet aircraft and the resulting powerful gravitational forces exerted on the movement’s balance.
The desire to measure the time elapsed between two events appeared very early on in the growth of modern horology. By 1822, the first chronographs in the literal sense of the word had appeared although in his workshop Breguet, ever the harbinger of modern horological technology, had already designed time-keepers (his term for precision watches) that could be stopped and restarted at will. In 1820 chronometers with double observation seconds had been developed; they are recognised as the precursors of chronographs with flyback hand, the starting point of modern chronograph design.
Also developed and built in the Breguet workshops in 1822 was the so-called Fatton timer. It featured a seconds hand fed by a small ink reservoir that could be made to inscribe a tiny dot of ink on its white enamel dial, thus litterally and etymologically “chronographically” writing time.