We've said it before: the Type 20 watches made for the French air force in the latter half of the 20th century are just plain some of the coolest watches ever. Airain is one of the brands known to have originally produced them, and its name has now been resurrected along with a reissue of its Type 20. It seems well built and nails the look, but Airain also went the extra mile by incorporating the complicated flyback feature.
Recreating the design of a functionally simple watch is the far easier choice for watch companies offering vintage reissues — and consumers scoop them up. That's why it's particularly notable when a feature like the flyback function of the original Type 20 makes it into the modern remake. The flyback function allows the user to restart the chronograph without needing to first stop it, which was considered an important feature for air force pilots.
It's interesting that other brands who have decided to reissue the Type 20 (such as Breguet and Dodane) also stayed true to the original by offering the flyback, though they could have simply offered a cool-looking chronograph that undoubtedly would have sold. However, the Airain remains reasonably affordable and offers a smaller case size. With a manually wound chronograph movement made by La Joux-Perret that features a column wheel for a smooth operating feel, the Airain Type 20 is housed in a 39.5mm steel case topped with a domed Hesalite crystal over the dial.
The current price is $2,920 but Airain is currently in the funding stage, taking pre-orders and offering further discounts to early investors. Delivery of the first batch is expected in July 2021.