Skip to main content

INTRODUCING: Zenith ICONS: PILOT and Boutique Editions

The Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback Boutique Edition.

Following its redesign from last year, the Pilot sees new additions, including a capsule collection of vintage chronographs.

2023 has been a generous year for watch enthusiasts, with major releases from the independents, the major watch groups, and microbrands. There were also several memorable collections that saw design refreshes, such as Zenith’s Pilot collection. This turned out to be one of the last projects CEO Julien Tornare would work on, having now hopped over to TAG Heuer in the later part of 2023 (the announcement was made earlier this year).

The Zenith Pilot Automatic Boutique Edition in steel case with blue cordura-effect rubber strap.

The Zenith Pilot Automatic Boutique Edition in steel with blue Cordura-effect rubber strap.

Boutique Pilot watches 

The Pilot’s refresh was all about keeping things simple, going back to the early days of aviation, and dropping just a hint of retro-chic elegance. The grooved dial stamping reminded us of the corrugated metal surfaces of Junkers planes. Zenith also kept things clean and legible, two qualities that tool watches prioritise. Oversized numerals are coated in luminous material, and the initial launch had just two models: a time-and-date with hacking seconds and a flyback chronograph with a big date.

The Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback in steel case with blue cordura-effect rubber strap.
The Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback in steel with blue Cordura-effect rubber strap.

But before we hit the rush of new launches for this year’s Geneva watch fairs, we’ve got some new drops from Zenith for the Pilot collection. The first are two boutique-exclusive editions that come in a deep midnight blue, a favourite of the brand that dates back to founder Georges-Favre Jacot. The name of the company holds special meaning in astronomy, a science best practised at night.

The internals of the two models are identical to the standard Pilot watches, with an automatic 3620 calibre powering the time-and-date, and a 3652 movement driving the flyback chronograph. Both are high-frequency calibres, ensuring great precision and performance with a good balance of reserve power.

The Zenith ICONS:Pilot capsule collection features Pilot chronographs from the 1960s and 1970s.

The Zenith ICONS: PILOT capsule collection features Pilot chronographs from the 1960s and 1970s.

The Zenith ICONS: PILOT 

In addition, Zenith has also released a capsule collection of Pilot chronographs from the later part of the 20th century under its ICONS vintage series. The programme offers collectors the opportunity to access quality vintage watch models that have been restored and guaranteed by the brand. This allows them to discover and acquire iconic Zenith models with a high level of assurance of authenticity and performance.

The Zenith TIPO CP-2 Chronograph Cairelli from the 1960s, designed for the Italian army.
The Zenith TIPO CP-2 Chronograph Cairelli from the 1960s was designed for the Italian Army.

This first capsule collection features three chronographs from the ’60s and ’70s that include the TIPO CP-2 Cairelli, a MIL-SPEC watch that was made for the Italian military through the retailer A. Cairelli. This particular piece features Zenith’s 146 DP chronograph that was developed by Martel, which was later acquired by Zenith. The rotating bezel and large luminous Arabic numerals are some of the key characteristics of this watch.

The Zenith Pilot A3821 chronograph from 1972, the first to feature the El Primero movement in the collection.
The Zenith Pilot A3821 chronograph from 1972 is the first to feature the El Primero movement in the collection.

The two other models are an A3821 from 1972 and a rare Ref. 01.0230.415, which have designs heavily influenced by the space race. Known as Pilot-Divers for their qualities of high water resistance, voluminous case with rotating bezel, and movements on a suspension system to improve shock resistance. They also came with an integrated Gay Frères ’lobster’ bracelet. These two watches are the first Pilots to feature the El Primero calibre, with the latter having a mineral crystal display back that reveals the movement fully.

Last but not least, the Zenith Pilot Ref. 01.0230.415 with a mineral crystal caseback that shows the El Primero movement.
Last but not least, the Zenith Pilot Ref. 01.0230.415 with a mineral crystal caseback that shows the El Primero movement.

The ICONS: PILOT capsule will be available on the Zenith website, and the boutique editions are available online as well as in Zenith boutiques.

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR CHANNEL


Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.