JCK/COUTURE 2016:

New Zenith Type 20 Pilot Watches Are Exclusive to North America


New watch introductions are rare at Las Vegas’s annual watch and jewelry trade shows — most of the timepieces on display have already been announced at Baselworld or SIHH earlier in the year — but occasionally a brand will surprise us. This year, Zenith unveiled two new models in its popular Pilot Type 20 collection at the Couture show at the Wynn — both of which will be available exclusively at the brand’s authorized retailers in the U.S. and Canada.

New Zenith Type 20 Pilot Watches Are Exclusive to North America

Both new timepieces are distinguished by their deep blue color schemes with red highlights. Both feature all the characteristics of Zenith’s modern-day Pilot collection, whose looks are heavily influenced by the watches the company produced in the early days of aviation — large-diameter cases, large, ratcheted crowns, broad luminescent Arabic numerals, and period-appropriate stylized hands. Both feature Zenith in-house mechanical movements and both are limited to only 50 pieces.

The Zenith Pilot Type 20 GMT (above) sports a 48-mm-diameter case made of black DLC-coated titanium with a domed sapphire crystal. The numerals on the dial are treated with cream-colored Super-LumiNova for a “vintage” look. Bright red is used for the tip of the central GMT hand and the numerals on the 24-hour scale on which the dual-time function is displayed. Small seconds appear on a subdial at 9 o’clock. The movement is Zenith’s automatic Elite 693, with a frequency of 28,800 vph, 26 jewels, and a 50-hour power reserve. The watch’s case is water-resistant to 100 meters and features a solid, engraved caseback depicting the Wright Brothers’ historic “Flyer” glider launching over Kitty Hawk in 1903. The watch’s blue alligator strap has a black titanium pin buckle, and is priced at $7,800.

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special

The smaller of the two new watches, the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special (above) has a steel case measuring 45 mm in diameter. The words “Extra Special” appear in red type on the dark blue dial. The movement driving the simple three-hand time display is the Zenith Elite 679, with a 28,800-vph frequency, a 50-hour power reserve and a large winding rotor decorated with côtes de Genève. The faceted hands are coated with Super-LumiNova. Like the GMT model, the Extra Special comes on a blue alligator strap with a pin buckle, here in steel rather than titanium. Its solid caseback features an engraved image of the plane flown over the English Channel by pioneering aviator Louis Blériot, with a Zenith timepiece strapped to his wrist, in 1909. The Pilit Type 20 Extra Special retails for $6,600.

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