One of the emblematic watches of the French Air Force is back in a limited edition, to the great delight of lovers of military watches and pilots themselves. Developed by the Dodane in Besançon during the 1950s on the orders of the French Military High Command, the TYPE 21 Chronograph was subject to the most exacting technical specifications, the most special of all being its Flyback function.
The Dodane manufacture was founded in La Rasse in the Doubs in 1857, by Alphonse Dodane and his father-in-law François-Xavier Joubert. In 1905, the Dodane firm moved to Morteau where in 1917, Alphonse Gabriel Dodane perfected a flyback chronograph, and the company began to specialise in on-board chronographs to equip fighter planes. In 1929, Dodane set up in Besançon. Raymond Dodane in his turn pursued the traditional manufacture of watches with complications, became the approved supplier to NATO, and was awarded the RAQ 2 accreditation of the Service de Surveillance Industrielle de l’Armement (the French Services of Industrial Surveillance of Arms.) In 1983, he was succeeded by his sons, Laurent and Michel Dodane, who produced almost 100,000 watches, which were sold on five continents. The Dodane firm is the only French company accredited for the manufacture of altimeter chronographs for parachutists carrying out delayed-opening night jumps. The firm also perfected the 100th second counter for the controls of Aérospatiale’s ejector seats, and it has become supplier to many French and foreign civilian airline companies. In 1983, Dodane was selected by the German Army to develop the type 211, a revolutionary chronographic instrument that has since equipped the « Tigre », « Mirage 2000 » and « Rafale » helicopters.
The TYPE 21 is a high precision chronograph. Its Flyback mechanism returns instantly to zero, without having to be stopped, while the chronograph is in use, so an aviation pilot or ship’s commanding officer can follow instructions or change direction according to a pre-defined programme. Once one sequence is complete, pressure on the button will set off the next one.
The limited edition of Dodane’s TYPE 21 “Flyback” Chronograph comes exactly at the right moment at the end of the year, so lovers and collectors of military watches can give themselves a little page of history for Christmas. A fine quality watch, and at a particularly reasonable price, which should also enable a number of potential lovers of mechanical watches to take the plunge (bear in mind the number available). And the chronograph’s classic dimensions (diameter 41 mm) will delight the traditionalists among us who refuse to give in to the pressure of the fashion for outsize watches.