Type 20 is a specification by the French Ministry of Defense for the standard-equipment pilot’s watch chronographs. Unlike German pilot’s watch specifications, those for the French Type 20 are not clearly documented but are rather based on common characteristics shared by various manufacturers. Bhanu Chopra explains what makes these watches so sought after and goes through the main models and characteristics.
About Bhanu Chopra
I am the resident “flieger expert” for Quill & Pad. For the past 15 years, I have been fortunate to be able to travel and attend watch events, visiting manufacturers and museums and writing about my experiences, made particularly special by the conversations and camaraderie with watchmakers, watch collectors, and the rest of the watch world.
The hashtag #fliegerfriday is dedicated to the genre of flieger, or pilot’s, watches posted on social media on Fridays. Tutima, which has a long history in pilot’s watches, asked Bhanu Chopra for some advice on developing a special-edition #fliegerfriday chronograph and together they came up with the Tutima Flieger Friday Chronograph Limited Edition. Here is its compelling story.
Bhanu Chopra recently picked up his unique piece Kudoke Flieger Concept from Stefan and Ev Kudoke over lunch at their favorite steakhouse in Dresden, Germany. Here he describes how and why he fell in love with this unique one-off timepiece and what makes Kudoke’s watches so special in general.
Derived from the historic Reference 798, Tutima’s M2 Coastline chronograph is a heavy-hitter in terms of practicability and wearability. But Bhanu Chopra thinks the blue-dial version is also a perfect casual watch for beach days. And we know it can withstand anything the beach can serve up!
The first time Bhanu Chopra strapped a borrowed BR 03-92 Black Matte Ceramic on his wrist, he thought that it was the perfect Bell & Ross watch for him, checking all the boxes for the characteristics he expected from an aviation-style instrument watch. He bought one and it has been part of his core pilot’s watch collection ever since. This is why.
Nomos Glashütte is synonymous with casual fun, and the Saxon company has not disappointed with its Ahoi Atlantik, an awesome summer dive watch with a dark blue dial. And check out these lively original photos while you’re waiting to get into the pool!
During a visit to D.Dornblüth & Sohn in eastern Germany, Bhanu Chopra noticed a new matte black ceramic dial in the workshop and loved the look so much that he asked the independent watchmakers to replace the more standard silver dial on his Dornblüth 99.1 with the new black one. And he’s very pleased with the result.
The majority of today’s numerous flieger-style watches are inspired by the now-iconic German pilot’s and navigator’s watches of World War II, becoming a genre unto themselves. Bhanu Chopra flies high to take a deep dive into the long history of this popular style.
Glashütte Original dial factory manager Michael Baumann guided Bhanu Chropa through the complex process of manufacturing dials. He explained that depending on the complications of a given watch model, it takes 70 to 80 steps to manufacture a perfect dial. See for yourself in this interesting personal tour behind the scenes in Pforzheim, Germany.
Tutima has one leg in the realm of fine watchmaking and the other firmly placed in its lower to mid-priced Grand Flieger collection, composed of German pilot-style watches. Bhanu Chopra visited the Tutima manufacture in Glashütte, Germany for a closer look at how this duality works and what role it plays in the company’s history.