Evamatic Type 20

Let us take you back to France in the early 1950s. The airforce required pilots’ watches for use in a.o. navigation. They drew up a series of requirements such as accuracy within 8 seconds/day, great legibility, the ability to go on 300 missions between services and, most characteristically, a fly-back chronograph. The recipe for the so-called type 20 and later type 21 watches. Breguet, Dodane, Auricoste and Vixa supplied them. Although most were actually produced by Mathey-Tissot but sold under different names.

The fly-back chronograph is a more complicated version of a normal chronograph. It allows for stop, reset and start to be performed with a single push of a button. The hands fly back to zero and restart instantly. Extremely useful if you are navigating on your chronograph. You can change direction and instantly start timing your new course.

The Breguet, Dodane, Vixa and Auricoste saw actual military action. You can usually tell by the case back, on which the strict service interval governed by the air force is marked. At the same time, other versions were released to the civilian market. These will often feature a different name on the dial and no maintenance markings on the back. This is such a watch.

This particular example features a chrome-plated case and the fabled Valjoux 230 fly-back chronograph calibre. It has aged beautifully and, like all types of ’20s and types 21’s, the form-follows-function design is timeless and simply gorgeous.

The case back might not show military markings, but it does feature a stamp of an eagle with two columns and “Besancon” below it. This is the heraldic sign of the city of Besancon, the heart of French watch and clock making.


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Year of production (circa)