The new Zenith Montre d'Aéronef Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 'Bronze' ref. 29.2430.679/21.C753 is the successor to the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special ref. 03.2430.3000/21.C738 launched last year. This new watch opposed to its predecessor, features a case made of bronze, a metal that is now highly coveted in the watch industry and which became extremely popular after the launch of the Panerai Luminor Submersible 1950 'Bronzo' PAM 382 and its successor the PAM 507. Today, numerous watches are now available in bronze all the way from C-list 'wannabes' like the Helson or the Armida, to the exceptional IWC Aquatimer 'Expedition Charles Darwin' featured here. The new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special ref. 29.2430.679/21.C753 is fitted with a robust 45 mm case that is just very unique an destined to develop a gorgeous patina as it gets worn by its owner. Featuring the iconic ratcheted crown typical of historical aviator watches — that ensures a perfect grip even with pilot’s gloves— and the traditional 'Pilot's watch' dial layout with Arabic numerals in C3 superluminova, the new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 'Bronze' ref. 29.2430.679/21.C753 is now one of our favorite Pilot's watches out there, right behind the new Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time ref. 5524G we featured here.
The case with a diameter of 45 mm and a thickness of 14.25 mm is very wearable and vintage looking with its satin brushed finishing. Perhaps one of our favorite features on the case are the curved lugs and the engraved plate —showing the case number and secured with two beautiful rounded head screws in titanium— on the left side of the case band. Additionally, the onion-shaped ratcheted crown also in bronze adds a special touch to the overall vintage appearance of the watch.
To make things even better, the new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 'Bronze' features a matte black dial with the traditional 'pilot's watches' font for the applied Arabic numerals in ultra bright C3 superluminova that will make the numerals light up as soon as the watch gets exposed to the slightest low light conditions. The gold-plated hands are also fitted with strong C3 superluminova and the domed sapphire crystal is coated on both sides with anti-reflective coating to provide unparalleled readability of the dial. At any angle the time can be easily read and the curvature on the tip of the minute and seconds hands is a real treat for the eyes. Another thing we absolutely love about this watch, is the lack of a date function —we typically prefer wearing watches with a date function— which makes the piece even more vintage looking.
The beating heart inside this watch is the automatic calibre Zenith Elite 679 composed of 126 parts, 27 jewels and which beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph —4 Hz— providing a power reserve of 50 hours. The movement is protected by a titanium case back engraved with the Zenith flying instruments logo and the watch is water resistant to a 100 meters.
This exceptional timepiece comes fitted with an oily Nubuck leather strap with protective rubber lining and tan contrast stitching and is equipped with a titanium pin buckle. Frankly, a bronze buckle would've completed the watch even better. Regardless, this is a watch that we still recommend buying.
On the wrist, this watch wears extremely nice and slightly bigger than its 45 mm case size. The watch does sit high on the wrist but it can still be tucked under the cuff of a shirt. If you are ready to wear a Pilot's watch that is not your run-of-the-mill timepiece at an extremely reasonable price, then this new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 'Bronze' ticks all the boxes. Also available in stainless steel for those of you worried about the crazy patina this watch will develop.
Sticker Price $7,900 USD. For more info on Zenith click here.