Airain Takes A Dive With The New Sous-Marine Re-Edition
The second CoLab watch to emerge from the archives of revived watch company Airain.
By now, most of you will probably know the name Airain and indirectly, the close link to Lebois & Co. Both names have been revived as part of Compagnie des Montre Lebois & Co, or CDMLEC, which is owned and run by Dutchman Tom van Wijlick. Over the past few years, we’ve seen the iconic Airain Type 20 pilot’s chronograph return in a superb, faithful reissue. Now though, as deliveries of the Type 20 are well underway, it’s time to present the second project by Airain, reviving yet another historically significant watch: the Airain Sous-Marine. Yet again, the public has been part of the design process, and the first pre-order phase is just around the corner!
The Sous-Marine by Airain marked another important chapter in the brand’s history, becoming a flagship model. The original Sous-Marine was positioned as a reliable and accurate skin diver in typical 1960s style. It featured a chunky case, a unidirectional rotating bezel, a matte black dial and very large numerals and markings. A key feature of the Sous-Marine, which is not to be found in others, was the central seconds hand shaped like a DNA strand. It didn’t mean it performed any better than the next dive watch, but it did make it stand out that little bit extra.
Once again, the design process was spread out over four phases, with the next coming very soon. The first phase was the design process, which allowed people to vote on different elements of the watch: the type of crystal, the style of the second hand, and so on. Then came the technical development, which was mostly done behind the scenes. And now, a couple of months after the start of the Sous-Marine project, the final 3D designs and technical details have been locked in and are presented to the public. Airain is opening up for pre-orders today, after which the prototypes will be built and evaluated. A second pre-order round is scheduled for April 2023, with deliveries planned after the summer of next year.
The design of the reissue is typical of dive watches of the same era. Size-wise the new Airain Sous-Marine comes in a 37.5mm wide stainless steel case, 38.2mm at the outer edge of the black PVD-coated unidirectional bezel, and a height of 10.45mm. Despite the majority vote for an acrylic crystal, the technical development phase showed this was not feasible, so you get a sapphire crystal instead. What has made a return, though, is the Parmentier crown, which ensured the original Sous-Marine’s water-resistance of 200m. Essentially the crown is capped, with the removable cap used to wind the watch when flipped around.
The dial comes in matte black with large beige-coloured numerals and markings for excellent legibility. The hands are faithful to the original, and you can choose between the DNA-strand seconds hand or a Lollipop one. Alternative colours for the dial include deep blue, faded black, ocean green and tropical, all available in limited runs. The date window at 3 o’clock reveals a date disc with black and red digits, another element to tie in with the original Sous-Marine.
The most significant update perhaps comes courtesy of the movement, which is the modern La-Joux Perret G100. The calibre AM5, as it’s called in the Sous-Marine, is an automatic movement running at a rate of 28,800vph, using 24 jewels and providing a healthy 68 hours of running time. It’s hidden behind a solid caseback with an engraving of a vintage diver. Like the original, it is protected by a 200m water-resistance rating.
Airain also reintroduces the Fixoflex bracelet, which came with the original Sous-Marine. Tom acquitted the name and rights and is set to revive it to its former glory and provide it with each of the Sous-Marine watches. A Tropic-style FKM rubber strap is also provided. Prices are set at EUR 1,550 for all variations of the Airain Sous-Marine Reissue, and the pre-order phase starts Friday, the 16th of December, at 10 am CET.
For more information and to lock in your pre-order, please visit Airain.com.
Cheap version of Glashütte Original Seaq
It’s indeed less expensive than the SeaQ but still cool if you ask me. As far as originality goes the GO Spezimatic (where the SeaQ is based on) was launched in 1969 while the Airain Sous-Marine already existed in 1961-62 🙂
@Zahn, I was thinking the same
They even went through the efforts to sketch it out, as if to show us it is an original design LOL.