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The new Pilot collection by Zenith pays tribute to the spirit of the aviation pioneers

Audrey Simon
Audrey Simon • 5 min read
The new Pilot collection by Zenith pays tribute to the spirit of the aviation pioneers
The new Pilot collection by Zenith pays tribute to the spirit of the aviation pioneers
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The new Pilot collection pays tribute to the spirit of the aviation pioneers who set their sights far beyond the horizon. It is a call to remind you to chase your dreams; the boundless sky belongs to you

Tracing its roots to the late 19th century, Zenith’s visionary founder Georges Favre-Jacot recognised humanity’s imminent conquest of the skies. With unwavering conviction, he ensured that Zenith would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those fearless pioneers. In 1888, Zenith registered the trademark “Pilote” in French, followed by the English version “Pilot” in 1904. Thus, the iconic Zenith Pilot collection was born, becoming the Manufacturer’s enduring line, cherished by devoted watch connoisseurs and passionate aviation enthusiasts alike.
The new Pilot collection embraces the core essentials of durability, legibility, and intuitiveness while remaining faithful to the timeless codes established by Zenith over a century ago. Inspired by aviator clocks and dashboard instruments, these timepieces honour the heritage of Pilot watches. Infused with a contemporary aesthetic, they also pay subtle homage to the captivating world of aviation.

Pilot Automatic
The Pilot Automatic comes in a new steel case design with a flat-top round bezel on top of the case. Surfaces are vertically satin-brushed with polished chamfers, while the black ceramic version is micro-blasted for a matte look.
The black opaline dial gets a horizontal grooves treatment reminiscent of corrugated metal sheets inspired by the fuselage of older aircraft. Also on the dial are the signature oversized luminescent Arabic numerals reminiscent of dashboard instruments found in the early 1900s. In this new iteration, the font takes on a more modern look and is applied as metal markers filled with white Super-LumiNova.
The Pilot Automatic is powered by the El Primero 3620 high-frequency manufacture movement with a power reserve of 60 hours when fully wound. The winding mechanism’s open and blackened oscillating weight recalls the archetypal and essential “artificial horizon” dashboard instrument, which informs the pilot of the aircraft’s orientation relative to the Earth’s horizon. All these can be viewed through the sapphire display back.

Pilot Big Date Flyback
The Pilot Big Date Flyback watch is joining the Pilot Automatic in the new collection, which showcases the upgraded El Primero 3600 calibre, now known as the El Primero 3652. This enhanced automatic high-frequency chronograph movement combines two functions: the flyback and the big date feature. In addition to its effortless legibility, the Pilot Big Date Flyback boasts a large date display with a state-of-the-art patented compliant mechanism. This mechanism swiftly and accurately advances and stabilises both date wheels in under 0.03 seconds, ensuring exceptional performance and precision.
The large date display in the Pilot Big Date Flyback features a mechanism that advances and stabilises both of the big date’s wheels in less than 0.03 seconds. Originally conceived for aviators who wore thick sheepskin gloves, the flyback function allows the chronograph function to be reset to zero and restarted with a single push of a button, simplifying the pilot’s operations and offering the possibility to record consecutive times without stopping.
The Pilot Big Date Flyback comes in two distinct versions in a 42.5mm case. The stainless steel version takes a page from one of the most distinguished El Primero Flyback chronographs, the aptly named “Rainbow Flyback”. The chronograph’s minutes totaliser is done in alternating colours to distinguish between the five-minute marks more easily. The central chronograph seconds and the chronograph minutes hands are done in a bright orange tone, another nod to the iconic El Primero Rainbow from 1997.

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Apart from the Pilot’s collection, here are more Zenith treasures to consider:

Defy Skyline Ceramic
Swathed in a black galvanic dial features a geometric pattern consisting of the Zenith four-pointed stars that historically featured prominently on the case backs of vintage Defy references as a “double Z”. Evoking the starry night sky, the blackened star-shaped sunken-into the dial feature sharp inward facets, with different angles catching the light.

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Defy Revival Shadow
The Defy Revival Shadow is crafted in titanium with a case with a fourteen-sided bezel, all micro-blasted for a matte finish. The watch is equipped with the iconic “ladder” bracelet, originally conceived by the renowned Gay Frères company exclusively for the brand in 1969; the links and clasp are crafted in titanium and finished with the same matte texture as the case. The light weight of titanium further enhances the comfort and ergonomics of this time-tested bracelet. It is fitted on an updated folding clasp with a more ergonomic and streamlined feel.

Defy Extreme E 2023 Limited Edition
Zenith introduces an unprecedented achievement in horology with its revolutionary 1/100th-of-a-second chronograph, seamlessly merging cutting-edge materials and a high-frequency chronograph movement. This remarkable timepiece excels at measuring elapsed time with unparalleled precision. Embracing the shared principles of sustainability championed by Extreme E and Zenith’s HORIZ-ON CSR initiative, the Defy Extreme E edition embodies a profound commitment to environmental consciousness. Notably, it proudly showcases vibrant accents in the distinctive “Vital Green” hue, synonymous with Extreme E, symbolising a resolute call to raise awareness and take meaningful action against climate change.

Defy Skyline Skeleton boutique edition
The watch features an integrated open-worked version of the El Primero high-frequency automatic movement, featuring an open dial design. Its distinctive four-pointed star shape, reminiscent of Zenith’s ”double Z” logo from the 1960s, showcases impeccable symmetry rarely seen in skeleton watches. In the Boutique Edition, the dial boasts a sophisticated silvery-grey tone, accentuated by a darker chapter ring adorned with applied gold-plated baton hour markers filled with Super-LumiNova.

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