Zenith adds a chronograph function to its bronze Pilot Extra Special for 2017
As Jean-Claude Biver searches for a new CEO to replace him at Zenith, the brand continues to expand its Heritage collection: Baselworld 2017 will see the launch of the Pilot Extra Special Chronograph.
It has been pointed out that Zenith’s offering could perhaps do with an edit, even taking into account that the number of references has been slashed by several hundred since they totted up to 750 in 2008.
The Heritage collection is both an aesthetic and historical strength for Zenith so it’s good to see the brand focus on its expansion. Last year Zenith launched a special edition of the Pilot Ton-Up for its successful partnership with the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride – now we have a chronograph version of the Pilot Extra Special.
Looks-wise, the new 45mm chronograph ticks a few steampunk boxes (or ‘neo-retro’ as Zenith describes it): bronze case, onion crown, ratcheted pushpieces, black dial, oversized numerals. The strap is made of oily nubuck leather in an olive shade, with visible cream stitching.
Chronograph sub-dials have been placed at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, each with slightly elongated numerals. The chronograph runs off the El Primero Calibre 4069 which previously appeared in the El Primero Chronograph Classic. It beats at 36,000 vb/h, enabling a tenth-of-a-second display, and has 50 hours of power reserve.
Interestingly, despite being a Pilot Extra Special, the dial only bears the moniker ‘Pilot’ – ‘ no ‘Extra Special’. The dial text was quietly dropped a couple of years ago, when Zenith flirted briefly with the idea of using bought-in Sellita movements; however the name remains (and the watches are that bit more special for still containing in-house calibres!). Now that there are subdials ot contend with, any extra dial text would make things a bit crowded in any case.
The caseback is titanium rather than bronze – better on your skin, and slows down the patination process – and is engraved with Louis Blériot’s Channel-crossing Type XI, a feat he completed whilst wearing a Zenith in 1909. The pattern surrounding the main engraving is inspired by the plane’s fuselage.
A price for the Pilot Extra Special Chronograph has been set at £6,200.
Read our interview with Zenith CEO Jean-Claude Biver here. For more information on the Zenith Pilot Extra Special Chronograph, visit here.