Auricoste was founded in 1854 to make marine chronometers, but is best known for the Type 20 chronographs supplied to the French military in the 1950s. The brand was one of a handful that produced watches according to the “Type 20” military specification for flyback chronographs, alongside Dodane, Vixa, and most famously, Breguet. Now Auricoste has revived the military chronograph with help from vintage watch expert Fabrice Gueroux as the Flymaster Type 20.
Auricoste is historically significant, as far as military chronographs go – the vintage-original Type 20 is a valuable watch – though it has fallen off the radar of most watch enthusiasts today. With the Flymaster Type 20, Auricoste is playing to its strengths.
The Flymaster Type 20 should appeal to those looking for a military-inspired pilot’s chronograph. As it is made by one of the original manufacturers of Type 20 watches, the Flymaster Type 20 has added historical provenance as compared to comparably priced alternatives that share a similar aesthetic. And at 3,450 €, or about US$4,100, the watch is significantly more affordable than Breguet’s Type 20, or even Zenith’s Pilot Type 20 watches. It is also a limited edition of 299 pieces, which makes its value proposition even more attractive.
Auricoste and Mr Gueroux took pains to ensure that the Flymaster Type 20 retains much of the vintage original’s DNA. The Flymaster is almost a dead ringer for the original, with the key differences being the automatic Dubois Depraz 42101 movement – leading to a larger case – and the 12-hour or elapsed-time bezel instead of a fluted bezel.
For one, the watch utilises hesalite crystal, instead of sapphire as is the norm on modern watches. The dial is near identical as well, though the positions of the sub-dials have been inverted due to the change in movement. And as is fashionable with remakes, the indices and hands are filled with ivory Super-Luminova to mimic the look of radium.
Perhaps most important is the fact that the Flymaster Type 20 has a smallish, 39.5 mm case, allowing the remake to come very close to the 38 mm of the original. But it is substantially thicker than the original, something that’s only evident in the case profile.
But the watch is modern in several tangible ways. The most obvious being the bezel, which has a glossy finish as a result of being coated in diamond-like carbon (DLC) to boost its scratch resistance.
The Flymaster is powered by the Dubois-Depraz 42021. More accurately, it’s an ETA 2892 with a Dubois-Depraz module on top, creating an automatic movement with a flyback chronograph that has a power reserve of 42 hours.
Key facts and price
Auricoste Flymaster Type 20
Diameter: 39.5 mm
Water resistance: 50 m
Movement: Dubois-Depraz 42021
Functions: Hours, minutes, and flyback chronograph
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 42 hours
Limited edition: 299 pieces
Availability: Direct from Auricoste
For more, visit Auricoste.fr.
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