When I hear Zenith, I think El Primero. Call it nostalgia but it takes me back to the first 18 kt solid gold El Primero automatic my father gifted me on my 20th Birthday. Now a vintage classic, but an evergreen model for sure.
Besides the iconic El Primero, Zenith is also well recognised for its contribution to the aviation industry. On 25th July 1909 Louis Blériot achieved a world’s first by crossing the English channel by air in 37 minutes with his Zenith on his wrist. Three years later, Louis Blériot stated: “I am extremely satisfied with the Zenith watch, which I use regularly, and cannot recommend it highly enough to people in search of precision.”
Since the brand with the guiding star had been one of the first to build flight instruments – notably altimeters and wristwatches – in the early days of aviation at the dawn of the 20th century, the paths of these two visionaries were undoubtedly destined to cross. Zenith is the watch brand that holds the trademark for the ‘Pilot’ name, naturally giving it special legitimacy in the realm of aviation timepieces. Powered by high-precision mechanical ‘engines’ in the shape of Zenith Manufacture movements, these are models distinguished by reliability, readability and robustness.
The First Silver Watch
Which brings me to the latest addition to the Pilot family – the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver. This 45mm aeronautic instrument is made of genuine silver 925 and houses the automatic Zenith Elite 679 calibre endowed with a generous 50-hour power reserve. The Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver is water-resistant to 100 metres. The evidently large Pilot crown, which adds to the rugged aesthetics of the watch ensures quick and easy adjustment. But what really fascinates me about the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver is the stunning brushed silver dial that has a riveting pattern, a direct allusion to vintage aviation. While silver may not seem to be a metal of choice for many watchmakers, the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver creates quite an impression as a rugged aviation tool.
The Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver sits perfectly on any wrist with this contrasting brown calfskin leather strap with a rivet and silver pin buckle, along with a distinctive tab recalling those featured on vintage pilot helmets.
Now while Zenith is a brand that not too many Indians reckon with, I would like to believe that this Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver edition will make you explore the opportunity of adding a Zenith to your watch wardrobe. Since 1865, Zenith has been guided by authenticity, daring and passion in pushing the boundaries of excellence, precision and innovation and from the looks of it continues to do so.
The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver watch is limited to just 250 pieces and will retail for $7,700.
Did You Know
• In 1865, the founder of Zenith, Georges Favre-Jacot, revolutionised watch production by uniting all the watchmaking professions under one roof, thereby inventing the very concept of a Manufacture.
• 1910 – 1960 – Zenith devises onboard instruments.
• On October 14th 2012, Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner becomes the first man to break the sound barrier in freefall, jumping from the edge of the stratosphere from a space capsule and landing in the New Mexican desert, 38,969.4 meters below. Zenith serves as official timekeeper for the milestone jump and the watch worn by Baumgartner while making the jump is a Zenith Stratos Flyback Striking 10th containing Zenith’s world-famous El Primero movement.