If you’ve been longing for something “extra special,” Swiss Zenith has you covered with a whole line of aviation-themed watches that includes the new-for-2017 Zenith Heritage Pilot Extra Special Chronograph in bronze. It appears to have a lot going for it as well: bronze case, giant onion crown and pushers, huge luminescent numerals, and a trusty high-beat El Primero movement. Pricing is borderline tempting as well.
Zenith has been a bit all over the place lately, but something we all appreciated was its getting more creative with its pilot watches as well as bronze as a case material. Consequently, it was – we had hoped – only a matter of time before these came together in a Zenith watch in a way that made sense. At 45mm wide, the Zenith Heritage Pilot Watch is big, but not as unrealistically and ridiculously so as, say, this bad boy from two years ago. For a chronograph, the case is a manageable 14.25mm thick, and it features a domed sapphire crystal with AR coating on both sides, sports a solid titanium case back with the Zenith flying instruments logo, and has two large pushers and a massive onion crown to go with the aviation theme, all crafted from bronze.
We have discussed pilot’s watches so many times that, at this point, we feel comfortable with simply saying that Zenith appears to have really nailed it with this latest piece – finally. The Super-LumiNova C1 Arabic numerals and the long and wide, gold-plated hands all enforce the aviation theme while a fun fact to bear in mind is that I recall Zenith to be the only watch brand to have trademarked the use of the word “Pilot” on its watch faces. We’ll ask Zenith whether that trademark is still in effect or not, but Zenith has for long been the only one allowed to designate something a pilot’s watch on its dial.
On a side note, this particular Zenith Heritage Pilot Extra Special Chronograph perpetuates what seems to be a recent trend in luxury watches and that is doubling up on names and other bragging rights. While there really isn’t much text on the dial, 2 out of 4 lines are dedicated to convincing us that this really is a “Montre d’Aeronef” or “Pilot” watch. We get it, Zenith.
In Zenith’s images, the dial either shows up satin dark or, as in the image above, as a surface with some finely grained, partly reflective coating on it.