Back in 2016, Zenith caught the eye of vintage-military-watch aficionados with its release of the Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2, an aviators’ chronograph that paid tribute to the now-legendary “Cairelli” watch the brand made for Italian Navy and Air Force pilots in the 1960s. This year, concurrently with the SIHH festivities in Geneva back in mid-January, Zenith followed it up with a new version of the watch, this one incorporating a flyback function and available in two different vintage-look cases.
Like both its mid-20th-Century ancestor and its 2016 predecessor, the Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback has a case measuring 43 mm in diameter, a rotating aviator-style bezel, and a classical bicompax dial design (here with running seconds displayed on the 9 o’clock subdial and chronograph minutes, up to 30, tallied on the subdial at 3 o’clock). The dial — in either a bronze-grained or slate-gray-grained color — is guarded by a domed, nonreflective sapphire crystal and features applied Arabic hour numerals and rhodium-plated faceted hands, all treated with Super-LumiNova. The bezel and chronograph pushers, as they were on the steel-cased, black-dialed model released in 2016, were engineered to meet special easy-handling specifications mandated by the original watch’s military customers.
Aside from the case materials — bronze for the bronze-grained-dial edition and aged stainless steel for the gray-grained-dial version — the other significant difference from the most recent Tipo is the movement, the automatic El Primero 405B. Still a member of Zenith’s prestigious El Primero family of high-frequency chronograph calibers, this one adds a flyback function to the column-wheel-controlled stopwatch functions, allowing the wearer of this watch to stop timing an event, return the central chrono counter hand to zero, and instantly re-start the hand to begin timing again, with a single press of the top pusher. The movement, which offers a 50-hour power reserve and boasts a rotor decorated with côtes de Genève, is visible through another sapphire window in the caseback.
The bronze-cased version of the Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback is mounted on a brown nubuck leather strap with a protective rubber lining; the aged steel model comes on a dark green nubvuck strap with the same lining. Both fasten to the wrist with a titanium pin buckles, and both are priced at $7,600.