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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.
“Your heart was warm and happy
With the lilt of Irish laughter
Every day and in every way
Now forever and ever after."