Since its founding in 1865, Zenith has had deep ties to the world of aviation. Indeed, the brand was one of the first watch manufacturers to create flight instruments for planes, including altimeters, chronographs and onboard watches. Its wristwatches also became popular with pilots.
At Baselworld, the manufacture honored its history with the unveiling of six new additions to its iconic aviation-inspired Pilot’s collection. Here are our favorites:
Housed in a 45mm steel case, the Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 Extra Special is a tribute to Zenith’s early WWII Pilot’s watches. The matte black dial features hours and minutes, as well as a central seconds hand.
The dial also features the words “Extra Special”, a nod to the “Special” engraving which was featured on the brand’s earliest Pilot’s watches, including the historical timepiece pictured below, which belonged to the French aviator Louis Blériot.
It is completed by a patinated nubuck strap with a steel pin buckle.
Next up we have the Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT 1903, a tribute to the Wright brothers and their historic first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903. It is housed in a 48mm titanium case with DLC coating.
The matte black dial features hours and minutes, as well as small seconds at 9 o’clock, and a second time zone indicated by a central hand for the 24-hour chapter ring.
The Arabic numerals for the hours are made entirely of SuperLuminova for increased legibility. It is completed by a vintage Nubuck strap heat-branded with the Zenith aviation instruments logo. Precisely 1,903 pieces will be produced.
Finally, we have the Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 Grand Feu, which features an intricately decorated oversized 60mm white gold case.
The white grand feu enamel dial features hours and minutes, as well as a power-reserve indicator at 3 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock.
At its heart is the legendary 5011 pocket watch caliber, an entirely hand-engraved and COSC certified movement.
It is completed by an alligator leather strap with a white gold pin buckle. Only 10 pieces will be produced.
Photo credit: Haute Time.