Countries :

WATCH REVIEW Dodane Type 21 BNL tricompax

Editor's opinion
53 / 100
Endowed watch for the French army pilots in the 1950's, the Dodane Type 21 is nowadays released in a limited edition. Let's see if this modern version is worthy as its famous predecessor.
Straight to the Point

Dodane Type 21 BNL tricompax

Ref.: 21NLN
$3,150.00 US retail price September 26th, 2010
  • the nighttime legibility
  • several configurations available
  • a dial made according to the aeronautics instruments’ specifications.
  • the finishing
  • the absence of protection against magnetic fields
Brand Dodane
Model name
Type 21 BNL tricompax
Case material
Steel 316L
Case diameter (without crown)
41,50 mm
Case diameter (crown included)
43 mm
Movement type
Dubois Depraz 42021
Base Caliber
Dubois Depraz
Sapphire glass
Power reserve
Transparent back
Lug width
20,09 mm
Length from lug to lug
51,47 mm
Case thickness
13,94 mm
Strap material
Calf leather
Clasp type
Deployment clasp
Clasp material
Steel 316L
Total weight
120 grammes
Retail price USA at September 26th, 2010
Comfort (/15) 13
Movement (/20) 9.5
Movement Optimisation / Garnishment (/5) 2
Ease of handling and adjustment (/5) 4
Movement control proceeded by the Manufacture / horlogical awards (/3) 0
Power reserve (/2) 1
Complications (/5) 2.5
Finishing (/20) 7
Dial finishing (/6) 2
Case finishing (/6) 2
Quality of garnishment / caseback engraving quality (/2) 1
Crystal quality (/4) 1
Clasp finishing (inner and extern) (/2) 1
Functionality (/20) 10.5
Diurnal legibility (/5) 4
Night legibility (/4) 1
Water resistance (/3) 0.5
Strap : ease of size adjustment + ease of substitution (/4) 3
Clasp : quality and safety (/4) 2
Additional items (/10) 5
Limited edition (/3) 2
Watch delivered with several straps (/2) 0
Quality of the watch box (/1) 1
Portability with shirtsleeves buttoned (/2) 1
Goodies included (/1) 0
Understandability of the brochure (/1) 1
Value for money (/15) 8
When to wear it ? For a nightclub party!
Users opinion
like this watch
Do you like this watch?

The rebirth of a myth

Mythical watches that have entered the watch making history, the Type 21 has been created as a response to a list of specific technical requirements that come from the French army.

Produced by different brands, they all have a common characteristic: a “flyback” chronograph allowing to reset and to relaunch the chronograph with one pressure of the same push-button.
It was at that time an essential element because it allowed accurately measure the sequences of flights.

Little known brand, Dodane remains nevertheless legitimate in the production of the Type 21: first, because it was a historical supplier of the army. But also because the manufacture remains within the family – a quite enough rare characteristic nowadays that is worth mentioned.

It is now the fifth generation of Dodane that runs the brand.

For the 21st century’s pilots

The tested Type 21 has a surprising particularity: integral fluorescent yellow markers that a Japanese “fluokid“ would not deny…
Did Dodane give way to the “tecktonick” fashion?
It would be quite unexpected for a serious pilot watch!

In fact, it is a special edition for night flights: the yellow of the markers (standard color for the aeronautics instruments) allows a maximum legibility when the cockpit is in “Low light level” configuration, namely when it is only enlightened by “black light” type lamps.

For lack of planes at disposal, we were not able to check it out…
But the good thing is that it should also work at a nightclub party!

Only one regret: only the hands are recovered with the SuperLuminova….
The “normal” night readability is thus quite bad.

The whole finishing is correct but could have been a little more groomed, particularly regarding the bezel (which is not really tight) and considering the strap that is not made of an optimal quality.

Another reproach that could be made for this Type 21: the transparent back.

A mineral glass (furthermore!) lets see the basic ETA movement.

Its decoration is correct but the interest, from a watch making point of view as well as the aesthetical point of view, remains limited.

And it is also an infringement to the initial specific technical requirements of the watch: this transparent back does not protect anymore the watch against the magnetic fields that are very present within a cockpit…

This choice is quite surprising for a piece that is supposed to be 100% “aviation”…

What to remember

Produced in a small edition, this Dodane remains an interesting choice for the lovers of the Type 21 that are looking for an original piece to expand their collection.

Dodane offers the opportunity to configure your watch on a customized way:  type of dial, choice of bezel… somehow a way to find out what you are looking for if you are not happy with the tested configuration!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *