A Legendary Timepiece Returns
An updated, faithful re-edition of the 1950s classic
Demanding circumstances, sophisticated technology
In the 1950s, the French army’s airborne division (ALAT) needed a new, chronomatically precise time keeping instrument for their pilots. This Type 20 had to include a hand-wound column wheel, a flyback function, and countdown bezel.
The unique flyback feature offered pilots a shortcut: They could reset the chronograph hand with one push of a button, instead of a combination of three. This allowed them to directly start timing a new event, without the lag of pushing two more buttons. Up in the air at high speeds, this made a crucial difference.
Other requirements were:
- 38 mm diameter
- Black dial with luminescent indexes and hands
- Hand-wound mechanical movement
- 35+ hour power reserve
- Max. deviation of 8 seconds a day
- The capacity to endure running, stopping and resetting the chronograph more than 300 times without causing problems to the movement.
One of seven selected watch brands who could produce this sophisticated technology was Airain. As demand waned in the 1990s, Airain’s Type 20 became a rare and highly sought-after auction piece.
Move the slider from left to right to experience how faithful the re-edition is to the original 1950s Type 20.
Reviving the Type 20
A new chapter in Airain’s rich history
In 2020, it was time to bring back this legend. The new Airain Type 20 faithfully matches the design and specifications of the original 1950s Type 20, including a hand-wound column wheel chronograph with fly-back function and countdown bezel. Its dial, protected by a domed Sapphire crystal, has the same Arabic numerals as the original timepieces, with two 30-minute registers at 3 and 9 o’clock.
We have carefully chosen the hand-applied Super-LumiNova colour, to recall the original’s luminescent material. The 39.5 mm stainless steel case is slightly bigger than the original to match modern standards, without losing its famous ancestor’s allure.
Behind the Caseback
Flagships need strong engines
The Type 20 and Type 21 are powered by our caliber AM2, developed and made by Manufacture AMT, Sellita’s high end division in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
This hand-wound column wheel chronograph movement with flyback function boasts up to 63 hours of power reserve (+/- 2 hours). Its chronograph can count up to 30 minutes and has Incabloc shock protection.
Its accuracy is regulated to no less than 5 positions. It is finished in ‘Soigné’ with Geneva stripes (Côtes de Genève), diamond-polished edges on the bridge, blue polished screws and gold coloured engravings.
Move the slider to reveal what’s behind the Type 20’s case back.
The Stealthy Limited Edition
Type 20 Furtivité Limited Edition
The Type 20 Furtivité Limited Edition is a testament to stealthiness. Its name was chosen to emphasise its military overtones and its exclusive and elusive character.
The anthracite shade provided by its Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating offers enhanced durability and lends it a sleek, inconspicuous identity that subtly complements any outfit.
By Request of the French Military
The Airain Type 21 is inspired by a 1960s vintage model first found at a Sotheby’s auction, which honored the French Ministry of Defence’s 1956 request to upgrade the Type 20 for increased durability and easier maintenance.
The Type 21 sports a glossy black dial with Grade X1 ‘Old Radium’ lume, proudly showcasing the Airain crown logo and ‘Type 21’ marking. Its bezel boasts a luminous triangle at the 12 o’clock mark.
What other watch lovers are saying about the Airain Type 20
In the Media
Don’t just take our word for it, see what the media are saying!
“an ultra-cool, faithful re-edition of the legendary Type 20 Flyback Chronograph (…) simply, clearly, utterly faithful to the original watch and, as such, makes for a super-attractive piece. But this new piece is more than just a pretty face, as the Dutch entrepreneur has pushed the concept quite far in terms of execution, historical relevance, mechanics, and (best of all) also in terms of price.”
“From all Type 20 re-editions, I must conclude that the new Airain is the most faithful to the original. The count-down bezel, Hesalite crystal, hands, typography, everything is very, very close to the original watches from the past (…) Even price-wise, the re-edition from Airain seems the most attractive as well.”