Airain Type 20

CoLAB Project – Airain Type 20 Re-Edition

CoLAB Project – Airain Type 20 Re-Edition

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Assembly has officially started. The first batch is expected to be ready by June 30 and the second batch by July 13. Our aim is to have all orders delivered before July 26.

The Story of Airain and its Legendary Timepiece

Montres Airain was 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 (along with Breguet and Dodane) of the Type 20 model for the French Army. 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.

Other characteristics of the original Type 20 chronographs were: a 38mm diameter and 14mm thick case, a black dial with luminescent indexes and hands, a self-winding mechanical movement with a power reserve of over 35 hours, a relative precision of + or – 8 seconds per day and finally, the capacity to withstand the running, stopping and resetting of the chronograph more than 300 times without causing any problems to the movement.

Type 20 Re-Edition

The Airain Type 20 Re-Edition faithfully matches in every detail the design and specifications of the original 1950’s Type 20, including a hand-wound column wheel chronograph with flyback function and countdown bezel. Its dial, protected by a domed Hesalite crystal, has the same Arabic numerals as the original timepieces, with two registers at 3 and 9 o’clock that can count to 30 minutes.

The hand-applied Super-LumiNova color has been carefully chosen to recall the original luminescent material of the original Type 20. The 39,5mm stainless steel case is slightly bigger than the original to match modern standards without losing the allure of its famous ancestor.

The Type 20 Re-Edition is powered by our caliber AM1 which boasts 60 hours of power reserve, developed and made by Manufacture La Joux-Perret S.A. in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Our designer: Matthieu Allégre

Matthieu is a senior freelance watch designer who works in the watch industry since 2013. He works for many famous brands and well knowned watch design agencies of Switzerland. After starting his carreer at Manufacture Piaget he launched his own design agency in 2015. He is constantly looking for improvement and likes to think out of the box to create attractive, innovative and well thought out products.

Tom and Matthieu first met at EPHJ, a famous international trade show dedicated to high precision in the fields of horology, micro-technology and medtech, in Geneva in 2016. They immediately understood each other well, which resulted in many phone calls, brainstorming sessions and the collaboration for the design of the Venturist. To the great satisfaction of both, which is why Matthieu was now also hired as a designer for the Airain Type 20 Re-Edition.

Update 1 – Design

November 24, 2020

It’s as they say; hard work pays off. So it was with great pleasure and pride that on this day we were able to present our newest watch; the Airain Type 20 Re-Edition as well as a celebratory Limited Edition. With the help of Type 20 connoisseurs and collectors, Matthieu and Tom made a variety for the purists that faithfully mirrors the original 1950’s version’s design and specs. These include a hand-wound column wheel chronograph with flyback function and countdown bezel.

To appeal to the more novelty-focussed watch lovers, we also designed a celebratory Brown Limited Edition. It has all the beautiful features mentioned above, but it will truly turn heads with its chocolate brown dial and strap. As it is a limited edition, it will undoubtedly become as hotly in demand as its predecessor.

Update 2 – Movement

January 15, 2021

Honouring Airain’s longstanding tradition, our Airain Type 20 Re-Edition is gradually taking shape, and our word is she becoming a looker! With her fully integrated mechanical chronograph architecture and impeccable button alignment, Calibre AM1 will be a work of art.

Saluting her old Army predecessor Valjoux 222, Calibre AM1 will be featuring a hand-wound column wheel chronograph with flyback complication. With her Côtes de Genève decorated bridge, blued steel column wheel and 28 jewels she is an absolute beauty! All carefully crafted by Manufacture La Joux-Perret in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.

Technical details
Caliber: Manual-wind column wheel chronograph caliber AM1 with flyback complication
Power reserve: 60 hours
Chronograph: 30 minutes
Jewels: 24 jewels
Shock protection: Incabloc

Update 3 – Technical Development

March 19, 2021

The technical designs of the Type 20 Re-Edition that we introduced at the end of last year have been finalized. Together with our suppliers, we have discussed and worked out every part in the utmost detail.

Since the current situation does not allow us to travel, we have done everything digitally remote and fortunately that worked absolutely fine. All technical drawings were approved on March 11 which concluded the technical development phase. We are moving into the prototype phase where all parts like case, movement, hands, dials and straps are made for approval.

Update 4 – Prototypes

August 15, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that the Airain Type 20 Re-Edition prototypes are ready. And that they are actually almost perfect; they are 99.5% OK, so there are only a few small things we will adjust in the final production. Main criterion is that the Re-Edition should feel like the original Type 20. In our opinion, this mission is accomplished. When wearing the Re-Edition, especially ref 421.436 with black dial and cognac strap, we often catch ourselves thinking we are wearing one of the old ones, which is also in our possession. Only when taking a second look, we realise that this one looks brighter and more crisp and therefore is the new one..

We would like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who already pre-ordered this new watch. Thank you for your trust and for getting to this important milestone with us! The second pre-order round will start on Friday August 20 at 3pm CEST. As soon as this round is completed and we have discussed all prototype feedback and changes with our manufacturers, final production will start! The first 150 movements are already waiting for us at manufacturer La Joux-Perret.

Update 5 – Prototype Evaluation And Production Progress

October 14, 2021

After thoroughly evaluating the prototypes and determining all changes, we are at the point where we can actually start production. All revised technical drawings have been approved. Most changes were just minor but they were on all fronts; deeper snails on the dial, finishing of the case including the pushers and crown, changes to the bezel, hands, straps and even the buckle. So why so thorough? Because we want the final product to be exactly as we imagined it but also because with these first models we are laying the foundation for future releases.

How does it go from here? Now that the all technical drawings have been approved, we have a final product and all the components are officially ordered. It won’t be long until we will have all the delivery times and we will know when the assembly can take place and of course final delivery.
Throughout the process of changes and improvements, we have noticed that suppliers are under a lot of pressure from all the different brands that want to catch up with their production after downsizing during covid-19. This also means that lead times of components are much longer than normal. Of course, we are doing everything we can to keep the momentum going. Stay with us, we’re almost there!

Update 6 – Production Progress

November 26, 2021

It’s confirmed! We can officially say that the production of all components for the Airain Type 20 Re-Edition (including Brown Limited Edition) has started. So good news, but we still have to be patient until the first series is ready. We are going to explain exactly why.

Let’s start by answering the question everyone is waiting for; when will the watches be ready? As it looks now (meaning if all suppliers can keep to their delivery promise) the watches will be ready by the end of May. Given the number of orders we have, we should be able to have all watches delivered in June, or early July at the absolute latest.

Then the explanation why it still takes a while; apart from longer lead times for a lot of components (as explained in our Oct update) this is mainly due to the limited availability of the main raw material we need for the watch cases; stainless steel. The general shortage of stainless steel leads to long lead times which greatly determines the delivery of the final production. Basically, we can’t do much more than wait in line but there is good news in the meantime: our batch is now confirmed for delivery at the end of January. If we then add the production of the cases (out of the received stainless steel), assembly and testing, we get to the month of May when the watches are ready to be shipped.

So, the end is in sight and there is an estimated delivery date. Of course, in the meantime we will keep everyone informed and we will show you images and/or video of the production as soon as we can.

Photo credit: Fratellowatches

Update 7 – Assembly to Start Soon

May 25, 2022

Production for the Airain Type 20 Re-Edition and Brown Limited Edition is moving along smoothly. We’ve already received the first of two batches of our movement, made by La Joux-Perret, and they will be delivering the second batch next week. All components are ready, and we’ll soon start assembly of the watch heads!

Unfortunately, operations in our Italian strap maker’s facilities were stalled due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. They are doing everything in their power to have our straps ready by 8 June. This means an approximate delay of two and a half weeks before we can start shipping.

This does not mean, however, that your shipment will be delayed. We want your watches on your wrists before our summer break (which starts mid July). 

We will be using the delay to prepare packaging and labels upfront as much as we can. You can help us by checking your shipping address and contact details, and let us know if anything seems wrong.

Update 8 – Production and Assembly Video

July 5, 2022

Witness the rebirth of an icon. Here’s a sneak peek of the production and assembly of the Airain Type 20 Re-Edition.

Supported by fans all over the world and produced in Switzerland, our Type 20 is the result of a longstanding desire to revive this iconic timepiece.

Watch how it all comes together.

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