The Breguet 19 was designed as a successor to a highly successful World War I light bomber, the 14. Initially, it was designed to be powered by a 340 kW (450 hp) Bugatti U-16 engine, driving a four-blade propeller, and such a prototype was shown on the 7th Paris Air Show in November 1921. A new design was flown in March 1922, featuring a conventional layout with a single 340 kW (450 hp) Renault 12Kb inline engine. The aircraft was built in a sesquiplane platform, with lower wings substantially smaller than the upper ones. After trials, the Breguet 19 was ordered by the French Army's Aéronautique Militaire in September 1923.
The first 11 Breguet 19 prototypes were powered by a number of different engines. A "trademark" of Breguet was the wide usage of duralumin as a construction material, instead of steel or wood. At that time, the aircraft was faster than other bombers, and even some fighter aircraft. Therefore, it met with a huge interest in the world, strengthened by its sporting successes. Mass production, for the Aéronautique Militaire and export, started in France in 1924.