Swiss watchmaker Zenith hit something of a home-run back in 2015 when they first released the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Bronze watch (which we went hands-on with here), offering a very attractive vintage-themed aviator in a large, attention-grabbing 45mm case. Perhaps realizing that large watches aren’t to everyone’s taste, the brand is releasing new versions of this model for Baselworld 2018, the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 40MM Bronze. The case size has been reduced to a more universally-wearable 40mm and a blue dial option is on offer for the first time.
Model: Pilot Type 20 Extra Special, 40mm Bronze. Ref 29.1940.679/21.C800 for the black dial version, Ref29.1940.679/57.C808 for the blue dial version
Dimensions:40mm wide x 12.95mm thick
Case Material: Bronze with titanium caseback
Crystal/Lens: Domed sapphire with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Movement: In-house Elite 679, automatic winding
Frequency: 28,800vph (4Hz)
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Green or blue oily nubuck leather strap with protective rubber lining, titanium pin buckle
Price & Availability: TBD
In addition to simply being smaller, the new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 40MM Bronze watch brings some minor aesthetic changes with it from the previous 45mm version. The text at 12 o’clock has been shortened from three lines to two (omitting the “Type 20” text), and the orange Arabic numerals have been removed from the minute track. The result is a more harmonious and cleaner dial, with two lines of text at 12 mirrored with two lines of text at 6. That being said, calling this watch “Extra Special” is a bit of a stretch; I’m used to seeing this sort ofnomenclature on Grand Seiko limited editions with highly-regulated movements or precious metals. Although theElite 679 is a well-made in-house movement, an El Primero it is not, and I would expect nothing but the best a manufacture can produce for a self-proclaimed”Extra Special” watch.
Caveats aside, I’m sure there will be a ton of consumers very happy to see the new Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 40MM Bronze being made available in a smaller case. This is undoubtedly a great looking watch, and expanding the brand’s collection of entry-level bronze aviators can’t be a bad thing. I still wish that the pin buckle was made of brass or PVD-coated to look more like the case material; avoiding skin contact with bronze is all well and good, but the exposed grey titanium just doesn’t match well with the warmth of the case. Price hasn’t been shared yet but we’ll update you as soon as we know more.zenith-watches.com