Based in Besancon in France, DODANE 1857 is a specialist in chronometric instruments of navigation for military and civil aviation.

Established by Alphonse Laurent Dodane in 1857 in a village on the Franco-Swiss border called La Rasse, Dodane was the first watch factory in France and one of the oldest in the world. The company rapidly became known in the world of watchmaking for its research ethos and for the interest of its ancestors in aviation. In 2005, the fifth generation of the Dodanes re-issued the TYPE 21 in order to restore the brand DODANE 1857 and perpetuating family know-how.

Today, they continue to supply TYPE 211 chronometric instruments for aircraft and wristwatches for military and civil aviation. Whether used by military or civilian pilots, they are acknowledged by professionals to be irreplaceable instruments, as a result of their extreme reliability.

Mile stones

Five generations have succeeded the time when Alphonse Dodane, as well as his father-in-law François-Xavier Joubert, had the idea of creating a watchmaking facility and ebauche workshop in the heart of the Doubs gorges, on the edge of the Swiss border, in order to make use of the hydraulic power that the river offered.

The first DODANE watches were manufactured at that time in these factory employing 120 workers.

In order to take advantage of its electricity and railroad, the facility was transferred to Morteau (in France’s Haut Doubs region). It was here that Alphonse Gabriel Dodane took the reins from his father at the dawn of the First World War.

He gave the House of Dodane its very special character by diversifying its activity in traditional watchmaking. He was convinced that the conquest of the skies would be every bit as important as that of the road.

Since ballistic science was still in its infancy, the projectiles dropped from the first bombers had the singularity of landing far from their targets. Alphonse Gabriel Dodane supplied the necessary correction by developing a reverse chronograph with a very innovative design. This invention forever changed the future of the Company, which specialized thereafter in onboard chronographs for the combat aircraft produced by the Dassault plants.

The third generation of the Dodane family settled in Besançon, where Raymond Dodane carried on the traditions of complex watch fabrication. He made the Company one of the longest-standing authorized suppliers to NATO and was awarded with RAQ 2 certification by the Industrial Supervision Department of the French Armoury.

The manufacture of Dodane was also a supplier to many civil airlines and military force, both in France and abroad, as well as to the Aéropostale, the French national department of education, and post and telecommunications offices.

DODANE 1857 TYPE 21 historic model

Laurent and Michel succeeded their father Raymond in directing the Company and produced up to 100,000 watches per year, distributed on all five continents.

The House of Dodane was the only French company to have been certified for the fabrication of altimetric chronographs permitting parachutists to do night jumps with delayed openings. The Company also created the 1/100th second timer for the control of the ejection seats used by Aerospatiale.

The Company’s mastery of electronic technology led to its selection by the German Army, in 1983, to develop a totally new and revolutionary onboard chronographic instrument: the Type 211.

Type 211

This integrated chronograph is installed in the instrument panel of the Franco German Tiger helicopter, as well as in Mirage 2000 and Rafale aircraft.

Led by Cédric and Laurent Dodane, the fifth generation of the Dodanes continues to supply aeronautic fleets in many armed forces throughout the world. Re-issue of Type 21 in 2005.


Contact details

2 Chemin des Barbizets
25870 Châtillon Le Duc, France

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