Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special And Damn Cool
Swiss Zenith stands for continuity in the watchmaking industry. Since its foundation in 1865 in Le Locle, it’s been working in a factory in the same address. Its watches have the ability to an in-house movement. This piece is dependant on their original pilot’s watch designed for Louis Blériot in 1909. However, additionally towards the vintage spirit, it provides extensive contemporary technology, having a titanium caseback along with a rubber-lined Nubuck leather strap.
The watch is in a new bronze case, 47 mm in diameter, 14.25 mm thick. The material is becoming more popular amongst watchmakers because it develops a natural patina over the years, creating an appearance that depends on the user’s lifestyle, so that eventually each piece becomes unique. The dial has the classic large Arabic numerals in Art Deco style, with white SuperLuminova coating (SLN C3), also used on the faceted hands. The seconds hand is central sweep, another difference with respect to the 1909 original that had a subdial at 6 o’clock. The crown is screw-in, contributing to the 100-metre water resistance. The solid titanium caseback is engraved with a depiction of Blériot’s monoplane.
A plate with the serial number is attached to the caseband. Each plate is different, with an individual number, in the form “HB – XXX”, in which the number of the watch starts from 001 and goes up to 999, and the HB stands for “Hotel Bravo” which is the two-letter call sign for Swiss aircraft in international radio language. And so the plate is analogous to the registration plate that can be found in all civil aeroplanes.
The strap is in Nubuck with rubber lining and titanium pin buckle. The 1909 watch seems to have had a leather strap running under the case and over the lug bars. The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special is a great watch that looks terrific on the wrist, just take a look at the photos, but with a manual wind caliber that big onion crown seems just to be waiting for a vintage leather glove and the watch enthusiast’s loving fingers to wind it.