The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special at Baselworld 2014
The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special may very well be regarded as one of Zenith’s best kept secrets prior to Baselworld 2014. And for that reason one that is most highly valued. Random or not, this pilot watch from Zenith represents what we may call the (almost) squaring of the circle. The Pilot collection is, by the way, one of Zenith's most successful. Originally conceived in a very exclusive, limited edition timepiece whose aim was to revive Zenith's pioneering spirit in early aviation and that soon became a complete collection.
A full line up was launched, ranging from a GMT up to a Tourbillon, and that today showcases timepieces with case size between 40mm and 57,5mm. All exclusively powered by Elite or El Primero manufacture movements. Moreover, they are all of such an original design as to have carved out an important position in IWC's hunting ground. If the IWC Pilot watch is considered the most desireable timepiece among modern pilot watches, a Zenith Pilot watch is the quintessential vintage aviation timepiece.
The simplest things in life are very often the best. The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special is a three hand timepiece, representing the Pilot collection's entry level model; less complication (central seconds' hand) is synonymous with enhanced authority. Little does it matter that the interior of the case does not contain a manufactured movement but rather a reliable and reworked industrial caliber (Sellita based) which ensures 42 hours of power reserve and has a balance wheel that vibrates at 4Hz, coded as Zenith 3000. Your eyes have already been captured by that huge dial adorned with the gigantic Super-Luminova™ SLN C1 arabic numerals.
Its case size is more than enough (45mm), its finishing is exactly the same as you will find in other timepieces of the Pilot collection. On top of that it showcases the same beautiful nabuck strap that Zenith introduced with the Type 1903 (here). How long is the road to perfection? Just a bit longer to reach the final destination - the “manual wind”! The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special is a great watch that looks terrific on the wrist, just take a look at the photos, but with a manual wind caliber...that big onion crown seems just to be waiting for a vintage leather glove and the watch enthusiast's loving fingers to wind it.
(Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C./Raffaella R. @Horbiter®