Service Breguet XX (20) / Valjoux 225

p1030146We have settled into our fabulous new workshop, and are very happy with the new environment…

Andrew sent us his Breguet XX, as the hour recorder wasn’t working. The second and minute recorders work fine, but the hour recorder just won’t budge…

The Breguet XX was developed after the war, and was issued to the French Air Force. The Vajoux 225 movement is based on the Valjoux 22, which doesn’t have an hour recorder, so that was added to the bottom plate for the 225.

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The case back has seen some action.p1030148

A first look shows a fairly tidy movement, with the usual wear and tear for a watch this age.p1030149

The case back had a pretty bad crack, which was silver soldered. The repair holds and is part of the history of the watch, so it will stay as it is.p1030151

The movement could perform better, as it has a fairly low amplitude and a wavey beat rate.p1030152

The movement is taken out through the front of the watch, so the bezel ring with the crystal has to be removed.
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The luminous compound has seen better days, and there is some paint on the minute recorder. If it were mine, I would re-lume the dial and hands, but that will of course make purists scream in agony 😉
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The hands are off. My guess is that the minute and hour hand have been repainted and re-lumed at one point. As said before, whatever is on the minute recorder isn’t original, either.p1030158

Very nice dial in good condition.

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A first look at the bottom plate with the hour recorder.0928100420

Upon closer inspection, I see that the hour recorder doesn’t engage at all with its driving wheel.

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I take out all the bits for the hour recorder and have a closer look.
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And here is the culprit. The clutch lever for the hour recorder has a bent pin, and somebody has done this on purpose. The reason for the previous “repair” is that the adjustment screw for the depthing of the hour recorder is very hard to move, so instead of sorting that out, somebody just bent the pin. I free the adjustment screw, re-shape the pin, and put everything back together for testing. There is no use in taking everything apart and putting it back together only to find out that there is a fundamental problem.

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I adjust the depthing of the hour recorder, and it now engages as it should.p1030185

I test everything, and the hour recorder is working nicely. Now it’s time to take the movement apart for a service.p1030193

The chronograph layer is off, and I’m down to the base movement.p1030199

The gear train looks fine.p1030205

Back to the bottom plate.p1030276

Out of the cleaning machine and ready to be put back together.p1030277

The barrel gets a new mainspring.p1030278

I start off with the base movement.p1030280

Now that I have a ticking movement, I adjust, and make sure it works well, before putting anything else on the plate.p1030281

Fully wound to the hilt, we have 324 degrees amplitude, which goes down to around 300 once we are off the last click.p1030283

The top plate is ready.p1030285

Now the bottom plate with the hour recorder goes back together. When I put the dial and hands back on, I notice that the hour recorder jumps a bit when I reset the chronograph. p1030286

The culprit is the friction spring of the hour recorder, which keeps the hour recorder steady. I tighten it a bit, and all is well again.p1030287

Now I can case the movement.p1030288

And the watch is back together! I’m very envious, as this is an immensely wearable chronograph that looks great.p1030629

As the luminous compound of the minute recorder came off during transport back, the client decided to have our vintage luminous compound applied to all four hands – so much better!

10 thoughts on “Service Breguet XX (20) / Valjoux 225

  1. Dude! What are all those parts doing in one bowl in a great big heap? How could you treat then that way? Even the balance and hairspring are in there, you cleaned them with everything else????? Seriously mate, that’s bad form to say the least. Where was it you qualified?

    • @ Carl: what makes you think that a photograph with the watch parts waiting to be assembled, have been cleaned all together?

  2. Ever since the re-issue Type XX came out, it has been my “graal” watch. The type XXII with its 5hz movement is a technological marvel, if not a bit on the clunky side, size wise!

    Having said that, Christian, you have done an amazing job on this watch. You are able to ensure that heritage can be worn again, and that deserves an amazing credit, full stop.

    For those of you that like to read more on the Type XX watches, I saved this link that may or may not provide a more comprehensive history.
    http://www.donindiano.net/watches/breguet/type_xx/#type_20

    Take care and thanks for sharing, Christian and Mitka!

  3. Nice job. For me, that lume is a tough one – I like some age on a watch but originality is so important. The paint on that minute hand is not great so I’d re lume but I like the fading on the hour markers.

  4. Have you ever seen such a case on any vintage Type 20 (Breguet or other makers) ?

    It’d quite interesting to have it examined @Breguet.

    • I’m not really in the business at poopooing my customers’ watches, and I don’t care that much personally, either. It’s a nice watch, and I have no idea what variations Breguet came up with. The case probably doesn’t belong to the watch, and the plate doesn’t have the “XX” on it, so there is a bit of a mix-up going on…

  5. Hi,

    Nice job. I’d have relumed the hands as well, but hey… 😉

    On a side note: that’s a strange Type XX here, since there’s no rotating bezel, the case doesn’t look anything Breguet, and the dial has been repainted.

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