Zenith announced the new generation of its Pilot collection on the second day of the Watches and Wonders 2023.
The Zenith pilot’s watch collection has expanded with new watch models such as the Pilot Automatic and Pilot Big Date Flyback, which include steel and ceramic versions, and has acquired a new roadmap with the change in the design language. The new Pilot Automatic (steel/ceramic) is 40 mm in diameter and the Pilot Big Date Flyback (steel/ceramic) is 42.5 mm in diameter.
The first striking feature of the new collection is that Zenith has left aside the vintage aesthetics we are used to. The new pilot’s watches are fine examples of purer designs that cast a shadow of the past and are instead inspired by the advances of aviation technology. Freely interpreting the rich aviation heritage instead of taking refuge in the shadow of the past, the Zenith designers have succeeded in raising the pilot’s watches to higher heights.
Inspired by aircraft fuselages, which is said to be the “new template” of pilot’s watches, the horizontal grooved dial design looks very dynamic due to its rhythmic arrangement. Then the large crown, which can be used even with gloves, was redesigned in a more angular and more modern style. Thus, when we look at the resulting watches, we see a new understanding of balance.
It is not known how the new case design will change in the future, but it is possible to say that the freshness and harmony of the design codes creates excitement. We can say that the new design approach is on the right track when we see that the watch editors visiting the fair are particularly attracted to black ceramic pilot watches.
The powerful caliber El Primero 3620 high-frequency movement, which provides a 60-hour power reserve when fully wound, has been chosen as the powerhouse of Pilot Automatic watches. The Pilot Big Date Flyback models, on the other hand, use the caliber El Primero 3652 high-frequency automatic chronograph movement with large date and reversible chronograph functions.
Those who look at the movement from the back of the case of both models will see a magnificent rotor design. The rotor is inspired by the “artificial horizon” panel in the cockpits and is visually stunning (it’s that simple to please watch enthusiasts).
The Pilot Big Date Flyback has a large date window in an unusual position just below the center and has a reversible chronograph function. In the steel version, the chronograph seconds hand and the 30-minute counter hands are colored red, while the ceramic version has no colored elements other than black and white.
Both models feature large numbers and cathedral-style hands covered in Super-LumiNova. The dials are matte black with horizontal grooves and both models come with rubber or leather straps. Let’s also mention that the rubber straps are decorated with the “cordura” effect.
Finally, although it is said that pilot’s watches do not need to be stylish, they should only be functional, Zenith has broken this understanding by designing stylish and cool pilot’s watches.
As for why the phrase “Pilot” on the dial is in quotation marks, it points to the origins of Zenith’s deep experience in aviation dating back to the late 19th century. Zenith filed a trademark application for the French term “Pilot” in 1888, and then followed suit for the English term “Pilot” in 1904. In other words, the right to use this term on the dial belongs only to Zenith.