For Baselworld 2018, Le Locle-based watchmaker Zenith is releasing a new blue version of their Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph. Dial and strap color aside, this release is otherwise identical to the brand’s Pilot Type 20 Chronograph in bronze from last year (which we covered here). Although bronze isn’t the first material that comes to mind when thinking aviation watches, bronze watches have certainly been extremely popular in recent years with their vintage vibes and unique patina developing over time.
Model: Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph, Bronze Blue Dial. Reference 29.2430.4069/57.C808
Dimensions: 45mm wide x 14.25mm thick
Case Material: Bronze with Titanium caseback, engraved with Zenith flying instruments logo
Crystal/Lens: Domed sapphire with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Movement: In-house El Primero 4069 Calibre, automatic winding column wheel chronograph
Frequency: 36,000vph (5Hz)
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Blue oily nubuck leather strap with protective rubber lining and a titanium pin buckle
Price & Availability: TBD
Bronze cases have usually been paired with brown or black dial watches to maximize the “vintage” look, but some brands have been successful with limited release blue dial variants recently, such as the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze Blue (which we covered here, despite the truly unfortunate model name) and the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition (covered here). The addition of a blue dial modernizes these watches and makes them somewhat more youthful, a design goal that Zenith is now getting on-board with for their Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph. Unlike the Tudor and Oris models, this watch is not a limited release, indicating the brand is confident in achieving strong continued sales of these timepieces.
The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph offers everything that made its 2017 predecessor special, with the added bonus of pairing slightly better with a blue-themed wardrobe. The vintage theme is still strong, but has been toned down a tad from the previous release. In a way this is Zenith’s attempt to address three recent watch trends at once; bigger cases (at 45mm this watch will certainly wear large), blue dials (seemingly a must in everyone’s watch collection right now) and bronze cases which achieve a warm look without the expense of gold. Whether these three traits all work together is up to personal taste; myself, I think Oris and Tudor both achieved the blue-and-bronze look better. We’ll have pricing for you soon. zenith-watches.com