Earlier this year we brought you news of the Airain Type 20 pilot’s watch making a return in the form of a faithful re-issue. Here was a historically significant, and era accurate (mostly) Type 20 brought back to life thanks to the folks that got Airain’s OG sister brand, Lebois & Co back on their feet in 2014. That means a sub 40mm case, a function-first dial spec, and a manual winding flyback chronograph movement. Best of all, it looks as sharp as the original, and is being offered for under $3k.
There’s plenty of history built into this watch, having originally appeared alongside pilot watch icons from the likes of Mathey Tissot and Breguet ultimately built for the French Ministry of Defense. How many Airain Type 20 watches actually made it to the wrists of French airmen is a bit less clear, but that doesn’t take anything away from the watch in front of us today. It’s easy to over-romanticize watches like this but at the end of the day they still need to hold up in a very different environment than they were perhaps designed for.