Auricoste Type 20
Why did I share
to make this
My Work On The Legendary
Auricoste Flymaster Type 20
Personally, I acquired my first Auricoste in 1998, a 1954 army Type 20 model. At the time, this watch was for me the watch the “must have” military watch collection. I was very interested in military watches. With this watch, I really had the impression of having a pilot’s watch, it “communicated”. Soon after, I bought a type 20 from the sixties, the civilian model. There I must say that the watch completely bluffed me, it was 100% of what I expect from an old watch, I mean I couldn’t tell the time… Every time I looked at it, my attention was immediately directed toward the aesthetic side and details. For me a collector is a person who is passionate about his acquisitions, he looks at them, he sheds light on them, he does research, but above all, he projects himself into the universe of the object. And in order to project oneself into a collector’s watch, it must have something to tell.
But as any watch collector, I was interested in many other brands vintage pieces. So I decided to sell my two Auricoste watches to finance more expensive watches, a very bad idea I admit. In the life of a collector, there’s always a moment when you part with a piece only to find out later that you’ve made a huge mistake. Apart from the soaring prices of these models, it is above all the regret of not having them anymore that bothered me. So I bought another one a few years later.
Two Type 20 Auricoste watches. On the left the 1954 military Type 20, on the right, the civil version from the 60’s.
I wanted to know a little bit more about that brand. But the documentation available on these models didn’t bring me enough to fill the void. I was thinking about meeting people from the manufacture but my work on my books let me just enough time to sleep 5 hours per night.
But the intention was in the air and it looks like Auricoste’s President perceived my intention. Three years ago, Mr Claude Tordjmann, the President of the Auricoste Manufacture contacted me. He wanted to meet me for he had heard about me from a friend. His intention at that time was to share ideas about the Auricoste manufacture with a vintage and collection watches expert. We shared our ideas about Type 20 watches, him from a former carrier soldier’s viewpoint, me from a Type 20 aficionado and “former” owner of an Auricoste Type 20. We really hit it off and spent our day talking about the Type 20, the Spirotechnique and some chronographs produced by the brand in the 50s.
And this kind of meeting, in my opinion, is much better than all the writings about a brand. In particular, I was able to discover the circumstances in which the brand changed hands at the beginning of the 80s between Auricoste and Mr Tordjmann.
At first, we discussed the brand’s current models. Then we discussed the difficulty of perpetuating a manufacture when it has a DNA as pronounced as Auricoste. The brand is known for its Type 20 and for its Spirotechnique. And we very quickly agreed that continuing the adventure of a manufacture means taking up exactly where it left off at the time of its most beautiful pieces. And if we look at Auricoste’s adventure, the production of its Type 20 stops at the civil version, produced in very few copies. We have resumed this adventure from this very point.
I mean ending a cycle of action. Just after the production of the civil Type 20, the Auricoste adventure seems to stop. In fact, it doesn’t stop. Auricoste signed a contract with the French Navy and had to put all its manpower into the production of marine instruments. The production will resume in the 80’s with a collaboration between Auricoste and the Spirotechnic for combat divers. Part of the production will go for the National Navy, the other part for the civilian. Then the contract will end, as all the production. The torments of the decades that the watch manufacturers went through… I mean so many of them almost disappeared between 1970 and 1980 right? Auricoste stayed and made its way by bringing back the Spirotechnique and the Type 20 in the 2000s, more modern and bigger, which is already a real challenge and a beautiful demonstration of perseverance to continue the adventure.
But for tor the new watch, I wanted to resume the adventure from this prototype of the 60s whose production had stopped, literally finish this story by bringing it up to date, from a design and technology point of view, and especially by making it available again. So I started to draft some drawings. That was so exiting that I played the game and created more “technical drawings”. The day after Claude and I were looking at them, we looked at each other and decided to start a new game… Let’s make the “old Civil Type 20” available again. After all I cannot wear mine without having people asking “where could I get the same watch?”.
Draft of the technical plans.
The vintage Auricoste Type 20 is almost unavailable today. If you’re lucky enough to find one, besides the very high rating, you’re lucky. In my opinion, it’s a real shame to only be able to appreciate really interesting models.. in books and websites. And Auricoste is really an interesting brand. It’s a Swiss made watch sure but it’s above all a French watch with a French history. The objective here was to allow enthusiasts to start again the history by collecting this watch which will obviously reach the same heights as vintage ones. A new story.
Respecting the DNA of the original watch was a real challenge. Far more difficult than taking your pens and using your drawer’s skills on a sheet of paper. We worked two years to obtain what we were looking for. Producing an automatic Flyback in a box with a diameter of 42 or 43mm is not very complicated. Don’t forget that the original is equipped with a mechanical hand-wound Lemania movement and we wanted a flyback automatic movement. We opted for a Dubois Depraz, a movement manufacture based in Le Lieu, Switzerland. Their 42021 Flyback movement was one of the best quality we could find. But how do you fit this movement in a case smaller than 40mm, very important in order to respect the DNA, and to have a minimum thickness?
We had to work hard and make many tests. But we did it, with the help of my son who is an architect. He worked on the case to the micron, literally, allowing a 39.5mm diameter. The original case back has been replaced by a beveled screwed back in order to reduce the thickness of the watch, the bezel has been made in DLC steel, which gives the case more finesse, and a deliberately rounded polishing has been done by hand on each of the pieces to keep a homogeneous vintage look.
2D Technical plans of the case. In red, the shape of the movement.
Working with Claude Tordjmann on the new Auricoste Type 20
3D rendering before printing the first dummy.
The 12 Hours bezel version of the Auricoste Flymaster Type 20.
The diving bezel version of the Auricoste Flymaster Type 20.
Each Auricoste Type 20 Flymaster comes in a waterproof case.
I will delighted to answer your questions and share my experience by email. Should you want to acquire your own Auricoste Type 20, you can order it below.