Zenith Introduces the Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver

Brightly finished retro metal.

Launched alongside the Chronomaster Sport at LVMH Watch Week, the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver is a limited edition that’s a nod to Zenith’s long history of aviation watches – with a twist.

While the style is the 1920s-inspired look typical of Zenith’s Pilot range, the new chronograph is dressed entirely in sterling silver, giving it a bright finish. Inspired by the aluminium bodies of vintage aircraft, the silver case will darken with time as the alloy oxidises, but the dial will remain pristine, protected by the case.

Initial thoughts

Zenith has been on a tear in recent years, introducing a diversity of watches, ranging from the Chronomaster Revival A385 to the mind-boggling Defy Inventor. Few of the new launches were Pilot models, resulting in a quiet spell for the line, a shame considering Zenith’s storied heritage in aviation watches. The new chronograph will no doubt do its part to revive the line.

Pilot’s watches are often aesthetically conservative – not so here. The Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver is meant to stand out on the wrist, and I’m all for it.

I had the opportunity to interact with a prototype, and the riveted, silver dial looks even better in the metal. The brushed surface has a shimmering quality that changes under different light, allowing it to catch the eye from every angle.

Clad in silver

The Chronograph Silver is cased in sterling silver, or 925, indicating it is 92.5% silver by weight. While not the first Pilot model to feature a silver case – that would be the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver – it is the brand’s first chronograph in all-silver livery.

The watch retains the proportions of the standard Pilot Chronograph, measuring 45 mm in diameter with an oversized, onion-shaped crown.

The solid-silver dial is finished with a stamped pattern with a randomly-brushed finish meant to evoke the aged, riveted aluminium panels of vintage aircraft. And it’s matched with the Gothic numerals and cathedral hands that are typical of the Pilot line, both of which are naturally filled with Super-Luminova.

Inside, the watch is powered by the automatic El Primero 4069, a variant of the famed, high-frequency El Primero 400 sans the date window and hour totaliser.

Key facts and price

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver
Ref. 05.2430.4069/17.I011

Case diameter: 45 mm
Material: Sterling silver 925
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: El Primero 4069
Functions: Time and chronograph
Frequency: 36,000 beats per hour (5 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Brown calfskin leather strap with rivets

Availability: At both retailers and boutiques
Price: US$9700

For more, visit Zenith-watches.com.


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