Airain, the iconic French watch brand has recently announced its revival thanks to the efforts of Dutch entrepreneur Tom van Wijlick. The legendary military watch specialist now presents the Type 20 Re-Editions.
Founded by Tom van Wijlick, Compagnie des Montres Lebois & Cie presently owns Lebois & Co and Airain watch brands. This year, the brand is releasing two Type 20 Re-Editions as well as a limited edition model that will be available for pre-order for a limited time only.
The first two Type 20 Re-Edition models are directly inspired by the original 1950s version’s design and specifications. These watches were designed with the help of Type 20 connoisseurs and collectors. They incorporate a hand-wound column wheel chronograph with flyback function and countdown bezel. Protected by a domed Hesalite crystal, its black dial features the original Arabic numerals, with two registers at 3 and 9 o’clock that can count up to 30-minutes. These models can be distinguished by the straps.
The hand-applied Super-LumiNova colour has been carefully chosen to recall the luminescent material of the original Type 20. Although the 39.5mm stainless steel case will be slightly bigger than the original to match modern standards, it still fully captures its famous ancestor’s allure. The Type 20 Re-Edition is powered by Airain’s caliber AM1, developed by Manufacture La Joux-Perret S.A. from La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. This hand-wound movement provides approximately 55 hours of power reserve.
The brand is also releasing a limited edition Type 20 model with a contemporary touch. This model features chocolate brown dial and strap.
Retail price for the two Re-Edition models is €2,540 / US$2,920 and €2,600 / US$2,980 for the Brown Limited Edition.
Type 20 refers to a specification for pilot’s chronographs issued by the French Ministry of Defense. The unique feature of the Type 20 was the ‘flyback’ function, which allows the pilot to easily reset the chronograph hand, and quickly start timing a new event without the lag in time of pushing two more buttons. Montres Airain was, just as Lebois & Co, originally conceived by the illustrious Dodane family in 1934 and rose to fame for its trustworthy, high-quality timepieces. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Airain was one of the selected suppliers (including Dodane and Breguet) of the Type 20 model for the French Army. Today, the Airain Type 20 is one of the most sought-after military timepieces.
Model: Airain Type 20 Re-Edition
Material: Stainless steel
Caseback: Screwed in
Black or chocolate brown
Caliber: Manual-wind column wheel chronograph caliber AM1 with flyback complication
Power reserve: 55 hours
Chronograph: 30 minutes
Jewels: 28 jewels
Shock protection: Incabloc
Genuine Suede Leather Strap in Black, Cognac or Brown
Lug Width: 20mm
Reference: 421.437: Type 20 Black dial with black strap
Reference: 421.436: Type 20 Black dial with Cognac strap
Reference: 421.458: Type 20 Brown limited edition (brown dial and brown suede leather strap)