French Army Chronographs
The original Airain was founded in January 1934 by the Dodane watchmaking family and was one of suppliers of the French Army. It quickly became a known brand to many watch enthusiasts.
After WWII, Airain was one of seven watchmakers, including Breguet and Dodane, that supplied ‘Type 20’ chronographs to the French Air Force and Naval Air Force. Type 20 refers to a French military specification for pilot’s chronographs, referring to the original, military-issue watches. These specifications include:
- A case diameter of approximately 38mm wide and no more than 14mm high
- Screw-in caseback
- Black dial, with two registers at 3 and 9 o’clock that can count to 30 minutes
- Arabic numbers
- Luminescent material on both hands and numbers
- Flyback function (retour en vol)
- Bi-directional 12-hour rotating bezel
- Movement accuracy of within eights seconds a day
- Power reserve of at least 35 hours
- Ability to operate the chronograph function reliably for at least 300 times
The Type 20 chronograph is not the only Airain timepiece that is still known today. Airain dive models like the ‘Sous-Marine’ and the 1950’s model Airain ’77’ are still in demand among watch collectors.
Today we want to give Airain a new life. After reviving sister brand Lebois & Co back in 2014 we now want to breathe new life into Montres Airain. Starting with a new version of the higly sought after ‘Type 20’ Flyback Chronograph. I hope you are as excited as I am! Follow us to stay informed of all developments. See you soon!
Tom van Wijlick
Founder / CEO
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