Founded in 1857 and now based in Besancon in France, DODANE 1857 is a specialist in chronometric instruments of navigation for military and civil aviation. In 2005, the company re-issued the TYPE 21, the famous chronograph watch provided to the pilots of French Airforce from the sixties.
The TYPE 21 is the symbol of precision watchmaking craftsmanship in service to the armed forces. Full-fledged navigational instruments, these chronographs were designed on the basis of strict specifications from the Ministry of Defence.
The technical qualities of the TYPE 21, combined with its reliability, have made it a truly renowned timepiece. The distinctive features of the watch provide a refined, authentic style, perfectly preserving the line and personality of the original watch that was the pride of generations of pilots. This personalized limited edition is assembled in the Swiss Jura region, respecting age-old watchmaking traditions.
Military watches have a history; they reflect intensive efforts in the quest for precision and authenticity. The watch actually had to compensate for onboard instrument failure by acting as a navigational instrument for the pilot. While conserving their precision, these chronographs already withstood extreme constraints in terms of acceleration, vibration, temperature variations and resistance to magnetic effects.
By official command from the French General Staff, the House of Dodane developed the Type 21 in the 1950’s. The “fly-back” function was the principal requirement in the stringent specifications then set out for the chronograph by the Ministry of Defence.
The “fly-back “function enables the user to set the stopwatch to zero and then to restart immediately the chronograph function. The Air Force has imposed this condition as it was vital for pilots when they would fly over a beacon or when they had to land relying on the time given by the control tower.
Among other requirements from the French National Defence’s specifications: an autonomy of over 35 hours, a maximum time difference of 8 seconds per any 24 hours. The difference was reduced to 0.2 seconds per minute and 0.5 seconds per half hour for chronometers. Besides, the chronograph was supposed to operate at least 300 starts, stops and zero-setting in a row.
Already used by the Air Force and other corps, the Type 21 was supplied to NATO forces involved in sensitive missions. In the 1990’s, Dodane Type 21 chronographs continued to wield their talent in Army light aviation.
Launched in 2005, the new Type 21 chronograph was designed as homage to the original TYPE 21 of 1956 based on the basis of specifications from the Ministry of Defence. This modern incarnation features upgraded movement, enhanced water resistance, better accuracy and superb finishing.
For their products, Dodane 1857 incorporates manufacturing standards of the Swiss made label. They design, develop and control the timepieces within their company in Besancon and sub-contract the manufacture and the assembly with a great company specialized in watches complications which work with most of famous Swiss watches brand manufacturers.
The movement which powers the TYPE 21 reissue is Dubois-Dépraz 42021 on a basis of an ETA 2892-A2. Dubois-Depraz is an independent Swiss company, specialized in the complications movements making intended to be integrated on a great number of prestigious brands models. The movement is equipped with the Incabloc system and shockproof.
The calibre ETA 2892A2 is used as a basis of engine and drive control, on which the watchmakers add a chronometric module and Flyback function. This high precision base movement manufactured by ETA beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour. The movement, the ETA base + Module stopwatch flyback, completely is assembled and set within the Dubois-Depraz company.
The Flyback complication which Dubois-Depraz carries out is rare because it’s complex to develop and DD has an exceptional know-how. The movement features “Côte de Genève” decoration with the gilt engraving of the brand and the Bottom plate and bridges decorated.
The brand has also paid a detailed attention to the sealing of the watch which is of 10 bars (100m) in order to arrive at the highest standards in term of sealing.
The customers can choose the standard model or the Chronometer version with “chronometric instrument” certificate by the “National Observatory of Time Measurement” in Besancon, an independent academic verification agency. Additional charges required for chronometer certification.
Measuring 41.50 mm diameter and 13.70 mm thickness, the stainless steel (316L) case of the watch ensures the antimagnetic safety for the parts of movement.
The leather strap of the chronograph is in black colour in order to respect the original type 21 Ministry of Defence specifications.
The stainless steel bracelet of the Type 21 was made in France by a French band manufacturer. Its complete plain 316 L, solid stainless steel links made by CNC (Numerically controlled Machines) and fixed by special hardened pins (it’s not stamped links).
The hands are made in Besançon and the dials are made in Switzerland.
The Type 21 is a very high-precision chronograph. It is equipped with a special mechanism called “fly-back” enabling to measure pre-set time with continuous or interrupted operations.
This function enables to start, stop and restart the central hand telling seconds divided to the 5th as well as the hands telling minutes and hours.
The chronometer’s Start function is set by pushing the first push-button A. With a second push on this button, the central hand is stopped. A third push on the same button re-starts the chronometer hand. This enables to stop a time measurement and re-start it at the stop mark.
Zero-setting function of seconds, minutes and hours is obtained by pushing the second push-button B.
The Fly-back device allows it to be instantly reset during the chronograph’s operation by pressing the second button (B), without having to first stop the operation with the first button (A). When pressure is maintained on the second button, the hand stays at zero and only starts again when pressure is released.
The device enables an aircraft pilot or ship’s captain to follow instructions and change headings according to a predefined course. Once a sequence has elapsed, pressure on the button launches the following sequence.
The rotating bezel completes the sums of minutes and hours by acting as a countdown timer. For a four hour flight, the pilot enters the number 4 opposite the hour hand of the main dial, and starts the chronograph: when the hour hand is opposite the luminous 0 mark, the four hours have elapsed.
The tachometer measurement enables to know the plane speed when taking off on a short runway. As a matter of fact, if the pilot has not reached the sufficient acceleration to take off regarding a pre-set distance, he will choose to reverse the engine push in order to try to take off again safely.
316 L stainless steel case (Also available in black PVD version)
Diameter: 41.50 mm
Thickness: 13.70 mm
Unidirectional rotating bezel with anti-clockwise return pawl
Sapphire Upper Glass and Hardened Glass case-back
Water-resistant 100 meters (10 bars)
Three Chronographs totalisators (hour, minute, second) to the 1/5th of second
Superluminova Hands and figures luminescent
57 jewels Automatic chronograph movement 42021 Dubois Depraz Swiss-made Chronometric assortment
Bidirectional winding ball-bearing central rotor
42 hours of power reserve
Finishing: «Cote de Genève» finishing on winding mechanism, polished-surfacing with chamfered bridges, blues screws, Bridge rhodium finishing, Colimaçon decoration on Barrel
Leather strap or Stainless steel bracelet with double claps opening
4000 Euros (Approximate price as on Apr 2019)
450 Euros extra for chronometer certification
Personalization is available (Additional charges apply)