Over the past several years, Zenith has firmly established the Pilot Type 20 model line as a vintage inspired throwback to aviation’s early days with a combination of early 20th century design and faux patina on cases and dials. As part of its offerings at LVMH Watch Week – Dubai 2020, the brand has shed some of this artificial aging for a pair of new designs that take the basic Pilot Type 20 style in a far more modern direction, these are the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue and the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph.
The first of these, the Pilot Type 20 Rescue, reimagines the clean lines of the 45 millimeter Pilot Type 20 case in a mix of high-impact brushed and polished surfaces while the utilitarian shape and oversized onion crown remain. The dial keeps the Pilot Type 20 hallmark cathedral hands and ornate Super-LumiNova numerals, but the lume here is a stark white contrasted against a slate gray sunburst dial surface. These more contemporary tones are accented with tactical punches of hazard yellow throughout – in the “Extra Special” dial text, on the tip of the seconds hand, in the minutes track – that add some much needed flavor to replace the warmth of the faux patina.
The Pilot Type 20 Rescue is powered by the Zenith Elite 679 automatic movement, offering a 50-hour power reserve and smooth 28,800 bph sweep. The strap of the Pilot Type 20 Rescue features the last vestige of patina on the watch in the form of distressed black vintage calfskin leather. The strap also features an odd take on the traditional pilot watch rivet strap style, which uses the rivet to connect a small stitched leather tab rather than securing the folded leather near the lugs. It’s a unique interpretation, but one that comes off as unnecessarily busy rather than distinctive. Zenith has priced the new Pilot Type 20 Rescue at $7,600.
As the name suggests, the Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph adds a chrono complication to the Pilot Type 20 Rescue formula. The stainless steel case remains at 45 millimeters, but adds a pair of wide pushers, while the dial adds a pair of bi-compax subdials. Other than that, the pair are nearly identical, outside of the Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph’s use of an El Primero 4069 automatic chronograph movement. The price increase over the three-hander is surprisingly minor as well, with an MSRP of $8,115.
These more modern takes on the Pilot Type 20 model line are only part of a series of announcements from Zenith at LVMH Watch Week – Dubai 2020, but represent some of the most substantial regular production additions to the lineup. For more information on these pieces, visit the Zenith website.