LVMH Watch Week kicked off this week in Dubai with fresh releases from its four leading watchmaking brands. Among the novelties presented by Zenith is an adaptation of its iconic Type 20 pilot’s watch. In fact, two adaptations, the Pilot Type 20 Rescue and the Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Rescue were unveiled today with stainless steel cases and grey dials.
The Zenith Pilot Type 20 pays tribute to the brand’s longstanding and legitimate links to aviation, which include Louis Blériot’s epic flight onboard his monoplane across the English Channel in 1909 with a Zenith watch on his wrist. With its imposing case, an oversized onion-shaped crown (for pilots wearing gloves) and hyper-legible luminous dials, the Type 20 has embraced the trend for vintage-style pilot’s watches with soaring success.
The latest versions of the Pilot Type 20, now with the Rescue appellation in their name, abandon the aged case materials (including bronze) and textured coloured dials of their predecessors and adopt more contemporary stainless steel cases with slate grey dials and a splash of yellow, a colour associated with modern aviation. Both models come with aged black calfskin leather straps recalling the classic shearling leather flight jackets of yesterday. The distressed straps also feature rivets and yellow stitching to match the yellow details on the dial and are attached to the wrist with a lightweight titanium pin buckle.
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue
Housed in a 45mm case, the new Pilot Type 20 Rescue time-only model retains its vintage vibe but is revisited in a more contemporary stainless steel case with contrasting finishes: the bezel and oversized crown are polished while the straight lugs are brushed. The dial is an understated slate-grey colour with a sleek sunray pattern. A discreet touch of yellow on the 5-minute intervals of the minutes/seconds track, on the tip of the central seconds hand and on the inscription ‘Extra Special’, contrasts with the large white Arabic numerals and cathedral-style hands. Naturally, the numerals and rhodium-plated hands are all filled with Super-LumiNova for heightened legibility.
The caseback is sealed and engraved with aviation motifs. Just like the other Pilot Type 20 time-only models, the new watches are powered by the tried-and-tested Elite 679 calibre with hours, minutes and seconds. This automatic movement operates at 28,800 vibrations per hour and can store up to 50 hours of power reserve.
Quick facts: 45mm stainless steel case – 100m water-resistant – grey sunray dial – Arabic numerals and hands coated with Super-LumiNova – Elite 679 automatic, 28,000vph, 50h power reserve, central hours, minutes and seconds – black vintage calfskin strap with titanium pin buckle – reference 03.2434.679/20.I010 – CHF 7,400
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph
The configuration of the Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph is identical to previous Type 20 chronograph models. The main difference is the adoption of a modern stainless steel case and a sleek slate-grey dial. The result is a fresher, more versatile chronograph that still plays the vintage card to perfection but which is slightly less burdened with faux-aged features. Like the time-only model, the 45mm steel case features polished and brushed surfaces, including the bezel, crown and the sides of the chronograph pushers. With central hours and minutes indicated with the hallmark cathedral-style hands, the small seconds counter is at 9 o’clock and the 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. The central chronograph hand features a yellow tip matching the 5-minute intervals on the seconds track and the inscription ‘Pilot’ on the dial. In keeping with its pilot watch nature, the numerals and rhodium-plated hands are filled with Super-LumiNova for superlative legibility.
The sealed caseback is also engraved with aviation motifs and consolidates the water-resistance rating of 100 metres. The movement is an automatic high-frequency El Primero 4069 column-wheel chronograph. A legendary movement since its introduction in 1969, calibre 4069 beats at 36,000vph and has a power reserve of 50 hours.
Quick facts: 45mm stainless steel case – 100m water-resistant – grey sunray dial – Arabic numerals and hands coated with Super-LumiNova – El Primero 4069 automatic high-frequency column-wheel chronograph movement – 36,000vph/5Hz – 50h power reserve – central hours and minutes, small seconds, 30-min counter and central chronograph hand – black vintage calfskin strap with titanium pin buckle – reference 03.2434.4069/20.I010 – CHF 7,900
More details at www.zenith-watches.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.