The Airain Type 20 Vert Militaire: A Classic Pilots Chronograph Adorned With A Green Dial

The Type 20 wrist watch refers to a certain specification of pilot’s chronographs issued by the French Ministry of Defense in the ‘50s and ‘60s. Airain was among several brands during that time period supplying these robust and highly legible chronographs for in-the-field, or rather in-the-air use. Airain returned onto the watch scene in 2020 releasing a reissue of the Type 20 in two dial color variations; a classic black and a chocolatey-patinated brown. Based on the success of the Type 20 reissue, Airain has decided to add another dial color into the mix with their recent release of the Type 20 Vert Militaire.

If you’re new to the brand (like me), here’s a bit of background. Airain was originally founded in 1934 and was conceived by the Dodane family. Dodane was an institution in the watch industry at the time and known for their watchmaking prowess dating back to 1857. Despite the success of the military-issued Airain Type 20 and several other watches in their catalog available to the public (Sous-Marine diver and the Airain ‘77’ dress watch), Airain found themselves closing up shop a few years after the war. It wasn’t until 2020, when the brand was revived by Dutch based entrepreneur and watch enthusiast Tom van Wijlick. It was only right that the reintroduction of the Airain brand led with their most distinctive design in the Type 20 pilots chronograph.


As Blake Buettner covered in the introduction of the Airain Type 20 back in 2020, these watches were made with specific standards in mind. Amidst those standards included a case diameter no larger than 38mm and no thicker than 14mm, a black dial with two sub-registers and Arabic numerals, a 30 minute chronograph counter with flyback capability and a bidirectional 12 hour bezel. The list goes on, but I’ll save the digital ink from listing the rest. In short, the Type 20 specifications make the Airain Type 20 a very capable watch.

The Type 20 Vert Militaire covers most of the ground when it comes to the Type 20 standard with the exception of a couple of details, and that’s a good thing. The dial for one, is not black, but what Airain is calling a “camo green”. From the images supplied by Airain, the green dial seems to take on a different color, looking more like a traditional camo green when it’s fully illuminated, and more like a light gray at different angles and low lighting conditions. Large Arabic numerals demarcate the hour markers and the medium dose of faux-patina gives it that vintage charm while contrasting nicely against the dial.

The subdials on the Type 20 Vert Militaire are properly located at three and nine o’clock. The nine o’clock subdial acts as the running small seconds hand and the three o’clock subdial across the way is the 30 minute chronograph counter. The Type 20 Vert Militaire is equipped with a central chronograph seconds hand, solidifying the overall legibility of the watch. Powering the time keeping and chronograph feature is a manual wind column wheel chronograph sourced by La Joux-Perret. As required by the Type 20 specifications, the Type 20 Vert Militaire sports a flyback feature for efficient chronograph use.

The Type 20 Vert Militaire case comes in at 39.5mm wide and a shade over 14mm thick. Another detail that doesn’t quite meet the Type 20 specs, but I’m sure most would welcome the modern proportions. A stainless steel 12 hour bezel also adds the ability to track another time zone, which is icing on the Type 20 Vert Militaire cake.

The Type 20 Vert Militaire is limited to just 134 pieces and is available directly through Airain for the price of $2866. For a watch just under $3000, the Type 20 Vert Militaire packages a classic pilots chronograph design, contemporary construction and a brand name that has true legitimacy and a historical connection to the epochal Type 20 pilots watch. Airain

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Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.