Zenith transits from wings to wheels with the Heritage Pilot Café Racer Spirit
Watches from Zenith’s Pilot collection are big and bear a distinctive vintage design with Arabic numerals in a historic font, straight lugs, and a large onion crown. Chronograph models also feature elongated pushers with deep fluting for traction, but they were previously offered with either an annual calendar or a tourbillon. A simple chronograph is finally available this year in the Pilot range, though dedicated to freespirited bikers – the Heritage Pilot Café Racer Spirit.
The new chronograph has a slate grey dial with a minute totaliser at three o’clock balanced by the small seconds register at nine o’clock. Its chronograph is precise to 1/10th of a second, thanks to the 36,000vph frequency of its self-winding El Primero movement. To create a decidedly vintage vibe, the movement and dial are housed in a 45mm case in what the manufacture describes as “aged steel”.
The retro elements described above were decided on with a particular group of bikers in mind. In the 1920s, young British motorcyclists began a sub-culture that saw adherents customising their motorcycles to deliver maximum output and enable them to speed from one café to the next – giving rise to the café racer movement. This connection is noted on the titanium case back with an engraving of a speeding motorcycle, which partially obscures the Zenith emblem in the background.
The olive green nubuck strap is lined with rubber on the underside to prolong the longevity of the leather and make the watch more wearable on the road. Night riders will find comfort in the blue glow of the Super-luminova coating on the hands and indexes, which appear beige in the day. MOVEMENT Self-winding Zenith El Primero 4069 chronograph calibre with 50-hour power reserve
CASE 45mm in steel, water resistant to 100m
STRAP Green nubuck leather over rubber lining, titanium ardillon buckle