Blue Skies Ahead —
— One of the more underrated timepieces Zenith released at Baselworld this year was the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph. Although Zenith is more linked to classic chronographs using its El Primero movement, it’s done a superlative job of honoring its historical heritage of producing onboard flight instruments with the expansion of its pilots’ watch collection over the past few years. This latest example features the iconic, column wheel El Primero chronograph movement with a matte blue dial, oversize Arabic numerals and a patina-friendly bronze case. At 45 mm by 14.25 mm, the watch is substantial and has an extra-large crown and fluted pushers for enhanced ease-of-use when wearing flight gloves. The numerals are made from blocks of white Super-luminova and there’s a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. The sapphire crystal is domed and treated with anti-reflective material for increased legibility. The caseback is made from titanium and is engraved with an image of the plane flown by Louis Blériot who wore a Zenith on his wrist when he became the first person to fly across the English Channel in 1909. The strap is made from blue oily nubuck leather with a protective rubber lining and features a titanium pin buckle. The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph in bronze with a blue dial is priced at $7,100.