As a celebration and renewal of their passion for aviation, the Zenith watch brand is back with two of their most iconic models, the: “Pilot Type 20 GMT” and the “Pilot Type 20 Extra Special”. Each one of these timepieces will only be available in the Northern American market, be it the US of A, or Canada.


The French term “montre d’aéronef” which translates to “onboard watch” is a proper name for these instruments specially developed for aviation. No doubt the precision required for incident-free flights was a terrific training ground for these timepieces.


Image courtesy of: Zenith

The 48mm case is made of brushed titanium for an ultra-light feel and conceived in black DLC titanium. Its iconic onion-style screw-in crown maintains those notches to allow a better grip on it and there is a pusher on the case positioned near the 10 o’clock spot. The solid caseback is engraved with the Wright Brothers Flyer glider, as a homage to these pioneers of aviation.


The Wright Brothers * Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

Since this is a North American special edition the color scheme had to go the red, white and blue route. So, the main color on the dial is a sunray-patterned blue, while time is told via white Arabic numerals; and red is confined to the tip of the center chronograph hand. The broad hour and minute hands are black ruthenium-plated with a satin finish. There is also a white minute track ring circling the dial with red highlighted Arabic numerals, serving as hour markers for a 24-hour scale. A sub-seconds dial is also located near the 9 o’clock position.


Image courtesy of: Zenith

Zenith Pilot Type 20 GMT

This “Zenith Pilot Type 20 GMT” (Ref#: 95.2430.693/51.C751) is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement, caliber Elite 9693, with 26 jewels, 186 components and 28,800 vph. Power reserve on this watch can last up to 50 hours and water-resistance can reach up to 100m (330 feet). Mounted to this watch is a blue alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining, exposed white stitching and a titanium pin buckle. This is a limited edition of only 50 produced pieces.


Image courtesy of: Zenith

As for the “Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special” it also showcases the same alluring dark blue dial, with less complications. The case for this model was made out of stainless-steel, with a smaller diameter size at 45mm and without the black DLC treatment, keeping a shiny silver finish look on it.


Image courtesy of: Zenith

For this timepiece Zenith took the opportunity to honor another aviation pioneer by engraving the plane flown by French pilot Louis Blériot on its caseback. This pilot successfully crossed the English Channel, back in 1909, while wearing a Zenith watch. Now the deed comes full-circle with this just homage.


Louis Blériot on a stamp * Image courtesy of: Wikipedia

The words “Extra Special” are inscribed in red on the dial, towards its center, slightly over the 6 o’clock mark. While the white minute track ring circling the dial on this version, has kept the Arabic numerals, serving as hour markers for a 24-hour scale in white as well, instead of highlighting them in red. So, overall this a smaller and simpler version, with less complications and a more straightforward telling of time.


Image courtesy of: Zenith

Hands and hour index markers feature a SuperLuminova coating, for an enhanced legibility. Also the sapphire crystal covering these timepieces is domed in a vintage callback to another era and its crystal has undergone an anti-reflective treatment on both sides.

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special

This “Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special” (Ref#: 03.2432.679/51.C779) is powered by a self-winding mechanical watch, caliber 679, with 27 jewels and 28,800 vph. Power reserve on this timepiece can last up to 50 hours and water-resistance can reach up to 100m (330 feet). Mounted to the watch is also a blue alligator strap with protective rubber lining and a Stainless-steel pin buckle. And this watch is also a limited edition of only 50 manufactured pieces.


Image courtesy of: Zenith

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Zenith, Pilot Type, Extra Special, Luxury Watches

Written by Mauro Az