The New Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver LE for the LVMH Digital Watch Week 2021
In a Nutshell: The use of the sterling silver 925 case and dial, very limited numbers of 250-pieces, an icy-cold aesthetic, and NO DATE WINDOW AT 4.30 define the new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver. If we were to pick an oversized chronograph watch and say that it was a great modern day watch for aviation enthusiasts, we would highly recommend the Pilot Type 20 series. As for the new Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver LE, it is essentially a remake of last year’s Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Rescue reference 03.2434.4069/20.I010 that was offered in a stainless steel case with a nicer slate-grey sun-ray dial that also retailed for 2’000 CHF less.
How Does It Do
Pilot Type 20 series are masculine and rugged in nature, evoking a sense of adventure. The new LE with its silver dial and case that will develop patina surely and quickly doesn’t disappoint; the silver is one quirk that in-fact adds to the charm of this collection.
Released alongside the new Zenith Chronomaster Revival El Primero A385 and other watches to mark the LVMH Digital Watch Week 2021.
When and Where
Monday (or rather Tuesday AEST) 25th January as a global, limited edition release, retail price for the ref. 05.2430.4069/17.I011 is 9’990 CHF. Contact an authorised retailer in Sydney or The Hour Glass in Melbourne
Who Is It For
Zenith offers something for everyone. While the DEFY Midnight collection offers celestial inspired sporty dress watches, the Elite collection offers traditional unisex dress watches and the Revival series offers petite sized offerings that harp at the legacy of the brand, the new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver offers oversized timepieces for die-hard aviation fans
The Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Rescue comes in a 45mm diameter Silver 925 case with a case-back engraved with the Zenith flying instruments logo. The heart used — El Primero 4069 — is a self-winding automatic column-wheel chronograph movement beating at the frequency of 5Hz (36’000 A/h) allowing for a decent (min.) 50 hour power reserve.
The watch face shows the functions of hours and minutes in the centre, small seconds at 9’o clock along with a central chronograph hand & a 30-minute counter at 3’o clock.
Umm, it takes a special kind of person to appreciate the faux brushed riveted dial with shiny reflections appearance. I guess I am not that special.
Also, I will have to have to see one in person and I could be wrong but day-time legibility doesn’t seem all that impressive. At-least the Arabic numerals hour markers and the rhodium plated & faceted cathedral-style hands contain Super-LumiNova SLN C1 for night-time legibility
What Stands Out
The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue collection presents a good looking utility watch that can also somewhat transform into a sports watch owing to the 100m water-resistance.
Personally, I loved 2020’s reference 03.2434.4069/20.I010, and even the time only variant, the Pilot Type 20 Rescue reference 03.2434.679/20.I010, both released around the same time last year at the inaugural edition of the LVMH Watch Week in Dubai. I generally like the Pilot’s collection, that showboats the style of a large case in 45mm, the oversized onion-shaped crown and the usually high legibility of the dials. These watches bring a deal of interplay of textures in the form of the oversized crown and bezel being polished while the lugs being brushed et al. 2020’s versions did away with the bronzed faux-patina look as well while still retaining a vintage charm.
One of the most striking features that I appreciated was the subtle use of the colour yellow on the dial face of last year’s models. Those watches used this colour in the seconds hand tip, hour markers — at 5 minute intervals of the minutes/seconds track — and the ‘PILOT’ (on the Chronograph version) & ‘EXTRA SPECIAL’ texts at 6’o clock. This use of yellow wasn’t arbitrary though as yellow is a recurring colour in the world of aviation, being used in tarmac painting and use inside cockpits to grab attention for vital controls and information.
So all said and done, yes, I like the Pilot Type 20 watches but when it comes to the new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver LE, I find myself a bit conflicted. Unsure, I would chalk this to the inability to check this out in person. But in a Catch-22 situation, given the disparity between US/ Swiss vs Australian watch markets and the limited-edition nature of this release, that sadly might not happen.
To find out more about Zenith watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are ©Zenith. All rights reserved.