At Baselworld 2018, Le Locle watchmaker Zenith released a new blue version of the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph. Aside from the dial and strap color, this version is identical to the brand’s Pilot Type 20 Bronze Chronograph that launched last year (which we covered here). While bronze isn’t the first material that comes to mind when thinking of aviation watches, the retro vibe and unique sheen of bronze watches have really become very popular in recent years over time.
Model: Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph, Bronze Blue Dial. Model 29.2430.4069/57.C808
Dimensions: 45mm wide x 14.25mm thick
Case material: bronze, titanium case back, engraved with the Zenith aircraft logo
Crystal/Lens: Domed Sapphire, Anti-Reflection Treatment on Both Sides
Movement: Internal El Primero 4069 caliber, self-winding column-wheel chronograph
Frequency: 36,000vph (5Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Blue oily nubuck leather strap with protective rubber lining and titanium pin buckle
Bronze cases are often paired with brown or black dial watches to maximize the “vintage” look, but some brands have recently had success with limited-release blue dial variants, such as the Tudor Heritage Black Bay Bronze Blue (which we cover here). too, despite the truly unfortunate model name) and the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition (introduced here). The addition of blue dials modernizes these watches, making them even more youthful, a design goal that Zenith has now achieved for the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph. Unlike Tudor and Oris, this watch is not limited edition, indicating the brand is confident in achieving strong and sustained sales of these watches.
The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Chronograph offers everything that sets its 2017 predecessor apart, and pairs better with a blue-themed wardrobe. The retro theme is still strong, but toned down compared to the previous version. In a sense, this is Zenith’s attempt to tackle three recent fake watches for sale trends at once. Larger case (45mm watches will definitely wear large), blue dial (seems to be a must in everyone’s watch collection now) and bronze case, achieved without consuming gold Warm look. Whether or not these three features work together is a matter of personal preference; for myself, I think both Oris and Tudor get the better blue and bronze look.