When it comes to aviation watches, we’re generally limited to watches that follow a particular style (say, a flieger reference), or perhaps something that’s based on a model from a brand’s archives. It’s a much less common thing for us to have available a civilian variant of a model that’s available to an active military air force – but that’s precisely what we’ve got with this new model from Dodane 1857.
Interestingly, this new PVD version of their popular Type 23 model had its development funded by by the sale of specific watches (750 in total) to members of France’s Air Force (makes for a rather interesting and specific military tie-in, for sure). Given those ties, it’s not a surprise that Dodane is using a movement designed to conform to military requirements for toughness and accuracy, the Calibre 2030.
Of course, you don’t just have to take Dodane’s word for it. If you like, via a special order process, you can have the movement in your new watch certified by the Besançon Observatory. I will admit that I’ve not heard of this particular body before. That said, they do certify the watches to the same ISO 3159 standard that’s used in the more familiar COSC certification. The Observatory is also one of the experts participating in the bi-annual International Chronometry Competition, which provides awards to the most accurate watches in the world. In short, they should know what they’re doing when they’re signing off on your watch’s certificate.
This movement is housed in an entirely new presentation for Dodance – a PVD finish of titanium nitride on the 42.5mm steel case. Along with increasing the durability and scratch-resistance of the case, it lends a “stealth” look to the piece. They’ve furthered this effect with the black dial, strap, and bezel. Now, in many watches, when they’re being “blacked out”, we really lose both the lines of the piece, and, more importantly, the readability.
Fortunately that’s not the case with the Type 23. We still pick up on the lines of the watch quite easily, as it’s not a complexly-styled case. Additionally, crisp white is used to mark out the minutes track, tachymeter ring, and the outer timing bezel. This styling is also carried over to the two sub dials of the chronograph (more on that complication in a minute).
This sharp contrast helps ensure readability of the watch remains high, at least for the minor functions of the watch. For the major function (you know, timekeeping), they’ve widened the numerals and hands a bit, allowing for more lume to be applied. This keeps readability up both day and night. Here, they’ve gone with a green lume which does give a contrast as well, but I wonder if the watch wouldn’t look a touch sharper had they used white luminous paint (which would then glow blue or green).
Alright, now back to that chronograph. As I mentioned earlier, you can get it certified, which is the first choice you’ll have to make. You can also chose whether you want your chronograph to be a “standard” variant, or a flyback (calibre 42030). Of course, the mark of a mechanical chronograph is the flyback action on the seconds hand when you reset it. In this case, the flyback option refers to the fact you reset the watch without first having to stop the timing. While you and I may not think that it’s a big deal, it really is, if you think about what the movement has to go through to allow that continuous timing, with reset, all without mashing its gearing into a gnarly mess. Whichever movement option you go for, you’re getting a movement from the workshops of Dubois Depraz, which means there’s no shortage of expertise that went into the creation and assembly of the movement.
Surprisingly enough, with as small of a brand as Dodane is, and the bits that make up the watch, pricing starts at $4,400 for this PVD Type 23. Obviously, if you start going through some of the customization options (caseback engraving, movement, certification, etc) that’s going to raise the price up a bit. Even if you go with the “base” model, though, it’s a sharp looking watch with true ties to active military use today – not something a lot of other brands can lay claim to. If you pick one up from this French brand, you’re all but guaranteed that none of your friends will have the same watch on their wrist. dodane1857.com
Tech Specs from Dodane
General CHARACTERISTICS (EXCLUDING THE movement):
- 316L stainless steel case, diameter: 42.5mm
- Brushed Steel or Black PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) finish
- Waterproof up to 10 bar pressure/depressure.
- Steel superluminova C3 luminous hands with fine adjustment
- Superluminova C3 luminous dial figures
- Bidirectional brushed or polished bezel with 12 hour markings or black with 60 minute markings
- Sapphire non-scratch glass (hardness: 9 on the Mohs scale/1,800 on the Vickers scale)
- Screw-down crown on mechanical version
- Black calfskin strap with black overstitching, double fold-over catch
MECHANICAL MOVEMENT CHARACTERISTICS:
- Swiss-Made Dubois Depraz 2030 or 42030 mechanical movement (Flyback version), 45 jewels, 28,800 bph (4 Hz); second hand sweep: 5 steps per second
- Mechanical anchor movement, Etachron regulator system and corrector
- Incabloc shock protection system and stop-second function
- Optional chronometer assortment and ‘special standard’ execution: three-spoked thermal expansion Glucydur balance wheel, Nivarox I flat spiral with Etachron precision index, nickel-plated, pearl-polished mechanism cover, sun-brushed barrel cover, Côtes de Genève decoration on inertia block, chamfered, polished bridges, blued screws
- Chronograph functions: minute and second totalizers
- Optional Flyback mechanism
- Ball bearing-mounted, bi-directional automatic self-wind mechanism
- 42-hour power reserve
QUARTZ MOVEMENT CHARACTERISTICS
- Analogue and digital display quartz movement, ETA 988.333 caliber, 7 Jewels,frequency: 32,768 Hz
- Hand display: Hours, minutes
- Digital display: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, perpetual calendar functions (day and date display, countdown, second time band. 1/100 second chronograph (ADD or SPLIT); Alarm
- Gain/loss: +0.1 seconds/day (at 20 °C)
- Long-life silver oxide battery (theoretical power reserve: 35 months depending on frequency of use of the alarm and chronograph functions)
- Electromagnetic compatibility: EN 50082–1, EN 50081–1
- Resistance to magnetic fields: 1600 A/m
- Impact resistance: NIHS 91-10