Take Off to the Skies with the Latest ZENITH Pilot Collection

Specialist Picks • 10 Aug 2023

Take Off to the Skies with the Latest ZENITH Pilot Collection

The newest Pilot Automatic and Pilot Big Date Flyback in Zenith’s collection explore the realm of aviation watches in a modern context.

Rising Above

Zenith’s fascination with the realm of aviation dates back to its foundations, when the Manufacture’s founder, Georges Favre-Jacot, believed that mankind will conquer the skies, and cemented this by filing for the trademark for the French term “Pilote” in 1888, and its English equivalent “Pilot” in 1904. In the years that followed, Zenith became one of the preeminent makers of specialised dashboard instruments and watches for pilots.

The all-new Pilot collection balances its heritage and modernism, with a design that draws inspiration from the entire span of aviation history, past and present. Imbued with the essential features of durability, legibility, and intuitiveness, it respects the codes of Pilot watches that Zenith helped define over a century ago, revisited in a contemporary context. With understated nods to the world of aviation and some added modern flair, it caters to the pilot spirit in everyone: seeking the freedom to dream, and the space to constantly rise above our limits.

Pilot Automatic

Revisiting the collection’s aesthetic codes, the new Pilot Automatic lays down the template for this generation of Zenith Pilot watches. Housed in a 40mm case in stainless steel or black ceramic, the new case design has a distinct flat-top round bezel fixed on top of the rounded case. A defining feature of Pilot watches, the oversized crown now has a more modern and angular form yet remains easy to operate.

Zenith Pilot Automatic in Ceramic
Zenith Pilot Automatic in Ceramic

The black opaline dial with its horizontal grooves reminiscent of corrugated metal sheets on aircraft fuselage of yesteryear is the perfect backdrop for the oversized luminescent Arabic numerals filled with white Super-LumiNova. The dial is signed “Pilot”, as Zenith remains the first and only brand to hold the rights to mark its dial with this term.

Powering the new Pilot Automatic is the El Primero 3620 high-frequency manufacture movement. Visible through the sapphire display back, the winding mechanism’s open and blackened oscillating weight recalls the archetypal and essential “artificial horizon” on a pilot’s dashboard. When fully wound, the movement delivers a power reserve of 60 hours.

Pilot Big Date Flyback

Chronographs, the other preferred watch complication of pilots, also receive the new Zenith Pilot treatment, featuring black opaline dials with horizontal grooves. The Pilot Big Date Flyback come in two distinct versions, both measuring in at a wearable 42.5mm powered by a new version of the famous El Primero 3600 calibre.

Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback in Stainless Steel
Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback in Stainless Steel

The stainless-steel version makes a notable reference to the iconic El Primero Rainbow of 1997. Its minutes totalizer is finished in alternating colours, allowing easy reading by five-minute marks. The central chronograph seconds, and the chronograph minutes hands are coloured in bright orange, providing another layer of visual contrast against the black dial and luminescent white markers and hands.

The Pilot Big Date Flyback in ceramic, on the other hand, takes on an achromatic look. The black ceramic case is microblasted for a matte finish, visually emphasizing its utilitarianism.

Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback in Ceramic
Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback in Ceramic

The new El Primero 3652 automatic high-frequency chronograph calibre integrates two functions to the 5Hz chronograph that are a perfect fit for the Pilot: the big date and the flyback function. Beyond its easy readability, the oversized date display in the Pilot Big Date Flyback features a next-gen patented compliant mechanism that advances and stabilizes 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 by a single push of a button, making it possible to record consecutive times without stopping. The El Primero chronograph calibre with its “artificial horizon” rotor is visible through the sapphire display back.

Zenith El Primero 3652 movement
Zenith El Primero 3652 movement

The Pilot Automatic and Pilot Big Date Flyback are delivered with two original straps. For the stainless steel editions, it is paired with a black cordura-effect rubber strap and a brown leather strap. For the ceramic, it is delivered with black and khaki cordura-effect rubber straps. The straps can be easily swapped out with a quick release mechanism, requiring no tools to detach the spring bars holding them in place. For easy and secure wear, the watches come with a newly designed folding clasp developed specifically for the new Pilot collection.

Capturing the spirit of the aviation pioneers who set their sights far beyond the horizon, the new Pilot collection is a call to chase your dreams – no matter how far or how high. The sky is yours. The time to reach your star is now.

Visit The Hour Glass today to see the new Zenith Pilot collection.

Tags: pilot watch zenith

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