The pilot watch category is crowded with plenty noteworthy models, but Zenith has a longstanding and legitimate link to aviation. In 1888, Zenith filed a trademark for the French term “Pilote” followed by the English “Pilot” in 1904. Zenith was a prominent maker of specialized watches and dashboard instruments for pilots and among famous adopters was Louis Blériot who made history completing the first flight across the English Channel with a Zenith timepiece on his wrist.
Now, Zenith introduces a new collection of pilot watches, unveiled at Watches and Wonders, envisioned for a more modern wearer. The result is a resolutely more urban style intended not just for inflight but also as an everyday timekeeper. The models, Pilot Automatic in 40mm and Big Date Flyback in 42.5mm come in stainless steel or black ceramic. Numerals are big and bold, but as with most things pilot watch, this is necessary and explained as such: legibility. In addition, a pair of chronographs has been introduced, again in stainless steel and ceramic. Each dial is signed “Pilot” and as Zenith personnel likes to point out, is the only brand to hold the rights to mark its dials with the term.
The Pilot Automatic is powered by the El Primero 3620 manufacture movement which delivers a power reserve of 60 hours, while the Big Date Flyback houses a new version of the El Primero 3600 calibre, with a host of new functions.
The brand has set its sights on a turnover of 15 per cent for this collection and when you look this good, is very plausible, as there will be no issue standing out from the crowd of pilots.