Who better to review an aviation watch than an aviator? Pilot and photographer Keith Campbell takes a look at the Dodane Type 23.
Dodane Type 23 Review
Despite being issued with a Seiko watch when I started flying training with the Royal Air Force, I mostly wore a Breitling Emergency for 16 years. I’d had a plane crash before and thought it might be ‘insurance’ if something went wrong again and the ground came up to meet me at speed. Luckily, I never needed to see if the Search And Rescue Beacon actually worked… It was a practical watch that did the job nicely.
The Dodane Type 23 that I shall be reviewing today is a true military watch, with a pedigree and background story to prove it. Back in the 1950s the French Military of Defence set of strict requirements for a watch that pilots could use that would stand the extreme conditions of a jet cockpit and could also be relied upon to be used as an accurate navigational tool. This is where Dodane made their name, becoming the official supplier to the French Air Force for aircraft cockpit clocks. The owner, the latest in the 150-year-old company is an ex-French Air Force pilot. He has used his own knowledge of the cockpit environment to craft a military-precision utility tool that is also a joy to look at and to use.
Dodane Type 3 Specifications
The watch is 42.5mm in diameter and stands 13.9mm tall. It wears smaller than its measured size. My watch has the Flyback option embedded within it (a Dubois Depraz 42030 module) that allows the chronometer to be reset to zero whilst still running via a single button click. It is powered by an ETA-2892 automatic chronometer movement that provides a standby power reserve of 42 hours. The quality of the movement is underwritten by certification from The National Observatory of Time Measurement in Besancon.
In true military minimalist style, the dial is well proportioned and laid out, being very easy to read at a quick glance. The applied C3 lume is bright for low light level reading and the lug design replicates the cross-section of a wing with screws securing the watch strap in place, a nice further touch of quality. Both front and back crystals have an anti-reflective coating applied. The calf leather strap if extremely comfortable to wear. The deployant clasp is, as expected, of a high quality, signed with Dodane 1857 on it. I also have the stainless steel bracelet but have yet to put that on. It looks amazing! You can select the bezel you would like when you order from their website. I chose the 60-minute black anodised bezel instead of the 12-hour option to allow the practical measuring of time between waypoints when flying. The chronograph pushers give a very satisfying click when depressed. The 16th Century Coat of Arms of Besancon, a majestic eagle, is engraved onto the crown. The tachymeter scale around the dial is also easy to read, set at a very legible angle.
Dodane Type 23 – The WRUK Verdict
If you are a military watch fan, history fan or just like unusual watches that you are probably not going to see many, if any, other people wearing it, you should consider this watch. Should you buy actually buy it? Well, every time I use the flyback function, it makes me smile. Yes, it is understated. Yes, it is very practical. Yes, it costs less than many luxurious watches that are pretending to be pilot watches – this is the real genuine article! Buy one!!
Buy a Dodane Type 23
The best places to buy a Dodane Type 23 are online sources, as they were produced in a limited run, click here to see used prices for Dodane watches on eBay.