Dodane is a very cool watch brand. They don’t exactly have the biggest collection of pieces – banking it all on a single product with a few variations, but a nice product it is. Their fine offering is the Type 21 watch, a historical looking aviation timepieces with a healthy relevance for today’s pilot or watch enthusiast. Nothing in the watch sacrifice’s its core mission – to be a highly legible timepieces, with a flyback chronograph, and to function as a measuring tool in the event an aircraft’s instrumentation dies.
Dodane’s website does a very good job explaining not only the history of the watch, but also all of its functions and available variations – all with lots of pictures. While not perfect, the site is surprisingly useful – for a watch brand website that is. Based in France, Dodane watches are very rare in the US. The French brand is proud of their history that goes back to 1857. Today, it is said that the fifth generation Dodane family still presides over the brand. I think they even still have a cockpit mounted dashboard clock that you can buy from them (called the Type 211). If you are a fan of serious aviation tools and also want something different, the Dodane Type 21 is a good way to go.
Some people are going to call it a poor man’s Breguet Type XX – which in a sense it is, though for not that poor of a man. I would say that both the Breguet and Dodane watches evolved together, which is why they look similar. I placed an image of the Breguet Type XX Transatlantique watch here for you to compare. Both are beautiful watches in their own right. Funny how the Dodane is the Type 21, and the Breguet is the Type 20 – coincidence?
The Type 21 is offered with a few dials, case finished, and straps. The case is 41.5 mm wide in steel, and available in a stain or polished case. You can get the rotating bezel in polished steel, or in black and polished steel. If you like, you can opt for the most traditional looking bi-compax layout with two subdials (but you can only measure 30 minutes). Or you can get the full three subdial array – which lets you measure up to 12 hours. There is also a yellow and black dial for enhanced darkness viewing, even though the hands and numerals are already covered in SuperLumiNova. Case is water resistant to 100 meters and has a sapphire crystal. The dial is really great looking, and very easy to read with all those Arabic numerals. The sloped chapter ring serves as a tachymetre scale.
While the variety of strap choice is nice, I am drawn to the interesting metal bracelet. It reminds me a bit of a cross between old Rolex bracelets and the bracelet on the famed Tiffany & Co. Streamerica watch. See what I mean. I would have to get that cool bracelet if I had this watch. Inside the Type 21 is an Dubois Depraz Calibre 42021 automatic chronograph movement with a flyback mechanism. You can see the movement through the caseback crystal window. Dodane offers a nicely decorated version of the movement in the Type 21 watch. So there you have it, a really cool watch you probably haven’t heard of before that could easily be more mainstream than it’s niche placement might suggest. Price for the Dodane Type 21 watch starts at about $3,000 and goes up to about $4,500.