The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Skeleton is an impressive watch, physically of course, but also artistically. By the numbers, it leaves quite a big impression too. This 60mm wristwatch requires up to 200 hours of craftsmanship, and will set you back $221,100.
Since its founding in 1865, Zenith has had deep ties to the world of aviation, manufacturing some of the first flight instruments including altimeters, chronographs and onboard watches for pilots. Of course, the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Skeleton is no traditional pilot watch, but it honors the brand’s proud history by integrating its iconic 5011 pocket-watch caliber used in some of its earliest pilot watches.
Already in 2014, Zenith had renewed with the legendary movement, housing it inside the Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 Grand Feu. This time, the whopping 50mm movement is fully displayed inside a case crafted entirely from a 60mm sapphire. Hand-engraved from its lugs down to its crown, it showcases the – perhaps underrated – artistic expertise of Zenith’s craftsmen, who have come together in order to create a stunning blue enameled white gold bezel. The watch features hours and minutes in the center, with a power-reserve indication at 3 o’clock (min. 48 hours), and small seconds at 9 o’clock in a highly revealing skeleton that sublimes the hand-finished movement. Even the hour markers seem to float gently above it.
Last year, Zenith CEO Aldo Magada expressed his desire to explore some of the brand’s exploits besides its famous El Primero movement. Going into the archives, and digging up the 5011 pocket-watch caliber to reinterpret it according to modern tastes could not have been a better way to achieve that goal. With the Pilot Type 20 Skeleton, another chapter of the brand takes flight.
The Pilot Type 20 Skeleton is a limited edition of five pieces, priced at $221,100 and comes with a black alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining and a white gold pin buckle.