The Comeback of Airain and the Type 20 Re-Edition

If the idea of pilot’s chronograph is grounded today, it owes its roots to a progression of incredible watches. Consider the WWII Flieger Chronographs for the Luftwaffe, the 1953 Breitling Co-Pilot Avi 765 and, obviously, the Type 20 Chronograph of the French Aeronavale . The last has acquired genuine religion status among military and pilot watch aficionados and has come to define an entire age of avionics instrument watches. Numerous endeavors have been made to resurrect the idea, among which are the popular watches by Breguet . Recently, we reported the comeback of one of the providers of Type 20 , a brand named Airain. Today is the huge day, as the brand presents its first model, which is a really cool re-edition of the first Airain Type 20. 

The Type 20 Watches

The unique idea of pilot chronographs owes a ton to German Flieger watches. Created during WWII by Hanhart or Tutima, these watches were commissioned by the Luftwaffe. On the in opposition to the B-Uhr (short for “Beobachtungs-Uhren” or Observation watches in English), larger than usual 3-hand watches which were made for perception purposes and to synchronize bomb dispatches, these chronographs were for pilots to empower them to make in-flight estimations. The idea was clear and utilitarian: an around 40mm measurement, a steel or chrome covered case with a turning fluted bezel, a two-pusher chronograph and a two-register dark dial with exceptionally differentiated and neat Arabic numerals (glowing, of course).

The French government commissioned the Type 20 chronographs for the French Air Force, the Center d’Essai en Vol (the CEV) and the Aéronavale (maritime flying). Type 20 refers to an inner military particular – note that military watches were named “20” in Arabic numerals, while Breguet utilized “XX” for its regular citizen models. Following an open greeting to tender, different brands were chosen to manufacture the Type 20 Chronographs: Breguet, Mathey Tissot (which creates some of Breguet’s watches, thus the resemblance between these two), Chronofixe, Airain, Auricoste, Dodane and Vixa (the last being remarkable in this rundown, as it utilizes older Hanhart developments and case architecture, recovered by the French government as installment of war damages).

The idea driving the Type 20 (and later Type 21) watches was clear and viable: a steel or chromed 38mm chronograph watch with a turning bezel (fluted with a marker or with a 12h scale), two-pusher architecture, a dark dial with a few sub-counters, huge glowing Arabic numerals and hands, and for the most part, the expansion of a capacity called “retour en vol” or flyback. This complication was extremely pragmatic for pilots as it permitted them to perform progressive computations – on account of this capacity, a solitary press on the pusher at 4 o’clock stops and resets the chronograph, rather than the standard 3-venture (stop-reset-start) operation.

Among the numerous brands delivering Type 20 watches was Airain, a French brand to a great extent connected with these watches, despite the fact that a lot more models emerged from this manufacture. Notwithstanding, the combination of the quartz emergency and the finish of the agreement with French military powers carried Airain to a stop during the 1970s.

Airain is back, gratitude to a Dutch enthusiast

As we clarified recently, the brand Airain has been revived. Furthermore, its gratitude to Dutch watch fan and entrepreneur Tom van Wijlick, who already rebooted Lebois & Co. with the presentation of two new watches, the Avantgarde and the Venturist . Having a weak spot for vintage watches and finding out that another great brand from the past was available to be purchased, he promptly hopped on the occasion.

It is nothing unexpected that these two names are connected indeed. Lebois & Co. was carefully created by the renowned Dodane watchmaking family, which likewise delivered the now-amazing Airain brand. Van Wijlick has figured out how to secure the trademark rights for Airain. He has joined the two brands (Lebois and Airain) under the banner of his Compagnie des Montres Lebois & Cie.

The Dutchman has declared designs to create an entire group of generally relevant watch marks and is discreetly peering toward different works of art. To support his arrangements, Van Wijlick has set up a group venture crusade, similar as the ones we saw from Reservoir Watch and Czapek & Cie. a couple of years back. The mission is currently tolerating pre-registrations on Eureeca , a value crowdfunding stage for genuine investors.

But the best has recently landed, as the principal watch under the revived Airain brand is here… and it is a super cool, loyal re-edition of the amazing Type 20 Flyback Chronograph.

The Airain Type 20 Re-Edition

No question about it, the re-edition created by Van Wijlick is basically, plainly, absolutely devoted to the first watch and, thusly, makes for a super-alluring piece. Yet, this new piece is more than simply a pretty face, as the Dutch entrepreneur has pushed the idea very far as far as execution, recorded relevance, mechanics, and (most awesome aspect all) additionally regarding price.

Looking at the new watch, the filiation is undeniable. Sure, a portion of the determinations have clearly been refreshed to modern requirements, however generally speaking the Airain Type 20 Re-Edition is extremely dependable. The 1950s shape and design of the case, with its precise carries and instrument look, have been entirely reproduced. The case retains a combination of brushed and cleaned surfaces, with mushroom-type pushers and an enormous, unsigned crown. The case is just marginally bigger than the first watch and has a 39.5mm distance across – because of the modern development that is found inside.

Other common components of the vintage Type 20 have additionally been re-consolidated, for example, the bi-directional commencement bezel with a 12h scale and a roundabout brushed top surface. The side is finely scored with a coin-edge profile. On top is a domed gem, which is (shockingly) not made of modern sapphire. Much the same as the first, this vintage-inspired model is furnished with a Hesalite gem – surely less resistant to scratches, however more devoted and brimming with fascinate. The caseback is screwed with markings inspired by the 1950s military models.

The dial of the Airain Type 20 Re-Edition is another illustration of the exactitude of the reproduction. All the components of the vintage model are back, from the textual styles, the numerals, the different types of hands to the logos. The base is matte dark with snailed sub-counters and a commonplace bi-compax format – with similar situation for the little seconds and the 30-minute counter.

The enormous Arabic numerals are lifted with hand-applied Super-LumiNova in a beige shading that recalls the first 1950s watches. All the hands – straight spear for the hours/minutes, iridescent rod with explicit stabilizer for the focal seconds, bolt for the moment recorder and stick for the little seconds –  are identical, as are the logos. The lone prominent difference is gem check, presently “28 rubis” rather than the “17 rubis” on the first watch.

The exemplary rendition, with its matte dark dial, is accessible in two references: 421.436 with a dark suede tie and 421.437 with a cognac suede lash. Notwithstanding these two, the Airain Type 20 Re-Edition will be accessible in a restricted edition (reference 421.458) with a chocolate earthy colored dial and lash for a cool patina effect.

As you may have speculated, there is not, at this point a hand-wound Valjoux development inside the case. Be that as it may, this neo-vintage Airain has picked a pleasant arrangement with a hand-wound chronograph development developed with La Joux-Perret. Derived from the Valjoux architecture, it is outfitted with a section wheel architecture and, clearly, a “retour en vol” flyback work much the same as the first Type 20 military watches. The development runs at a 4Hz frequency and flaunts a comfortable 55h force reserve.

Availability & Price

The Airain Type 20 Re-Edition with a dark dial will be evaluated at EUR 2,540 while the restricted edition with an earthy colored dial will retail for EUR 2,600 – all things considered, a relatively reasonable cost for a flyback chronograph watch with recorded relevance and great looks. The pre-order crusade is presently dispatched at  and deliveries are normal for July 2021.

Also, financial backers who add to the worldwide value subsidizing stage Eureeca  are offered worthwhile estimating (up to 40% off retail cost) on watches of both brands.