Zenith has entered a new phase in its history of watchmaking with the production of a new timepiece that features their very first ever wrist watch encased in silver. They’re not the only manufacturer to do so but this special event happens to be their first endeavor working with this type of case and they’ve recently announced the impending release of their Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver in a limited edition run. At first sight, the watch has a unique and pleasing aesthetic that quickly catches the eye. The watch is unusual for a modern production both in the case material as well as its styling and it’s well worth a closer look.
The unique case
One of the main reasons you don’t often see new watch editions presented with a silver case is that there are other metals of similar appearance which offer greater durability. Titanium and steel are two of them. The majority of high end materials used are white gold or platinum, generally in a plating over steel, but this was not the intention nor desire of Zenith. The case is round shaped with a diameter of 45 mm and a thickness of 14.25 mm in a genuine silver case. When you turn the watch over, the case back is also made of silver with lovely engravings of the Zenith logo at the top, and a vintage airplane taking up the center of the case back. At the top rim we see the engraved words “Zenith Flying Instruments” and at the bottom of the rim “Montre d’ Aeronef Type 20, which informs all that this is a high end pilot watch and also a collectible.
The dial features large indexes which are highly legible with a vintage aesthetic. the numerals for the hours are large and overstated and they have the appeal of something you would expect to find in the late 1800s era. The dial is a brushed pattern silver with an overlay of contrasting grey that has small round punched holes reminiscent of work with metals and the punch method of assembling the parts together through the riveting method. There is a slight sense of the industrial period as the watch, produced in 2019 on the 50th anniversary of the El Primero. Lume has been applied to the hands and the numerals for exceptional legibility in all types of lighting conditions. The crown is over-sized and matches the case and the dial size in this regard with a pattern that makes it easy to grasp for resetting the timepiece as necessary.
The movement that powers the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver is an in house automatic winding type caliber Zenith Elite 679 model. The power provider measures 25.6 mm with a depth of 3.85 mm. It beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph with 27 jewels. The functions are hours, minutes and seconds with a power reserve of 50 hours.
The water resistance of the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver is 100 meters. It affixes to the wrist with a strap that is made of genuine calfskin leather in a brown color. Zenith has taken a bold step by introducing this unusual silver case watch but it’s not necessarily a risk they’ve taken, but rather a leap of faith. The outlook is healthy for this limited edition watch to perhaps set a trend for others to follow. Just as there were concerns over the bronze cased renditions, the trend was accepted warmly as the watches developed their own patina over time, giving them a uniqueness that will also become a hallmark of the Zenith Pilot Type 20 in silver. An interesting watch in every respect, it’s likely that there won’t be many left to claim after the official release for sale to the public.
Pricing & Availability
Another virtue of the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver is that it will be offered for a retail price of just $7,700 which is a bit surprising, yet welcome news. The release of this special edition is set for late April of 2019. There will be a limited production run of just 200 pieces.