2022 was the year of chronographs for this brand, even proudly claiming the ‘Master Of Chronographs’ title. But this year at Watches And Wonders 2023, it’s ready to take off with its Pilot collection, with a new version of the much-celebrated El Primero Collection. Introducing the Pilot Big Date Flyback!
But before we get into the details, let’s understand the history of the Pilot collection!
Aspirations of flying free? Do you have the desire for independence as a means of expanding one’s horizons? The stars are calling you, and the sky is yours to explore. Since its inception in the late 19th century, Zenith has been fascinated by the world of aviation. Founder Georges-Favre Jacot believed that man was on the verge of conquering the skies, and that Zenith should be there alongside the brave pioneers who saw a world of freedom and infinite possibilities far above the horizon.
Zenith first trademarked the French term “Pilote” in 1888 and the English term “Pilot” in 1904. Following its founding, Zenith quickly rose to prominence as a leading manufacturer of aviation-specific timepieces and instrumentation for aircraft cockpits. Louis Blériot, one of many famous users, is best known for his historic flight across the English Channel in 1909. Zenith’s newest iteration of the Pilot collection is a testament to the company’s commitment to preserving and expanding upon this illustrious history.
The Zenith Pilot collection is the Manufacture’s longest-running line, and it never fails to beguile seasoned watch aficionados as well as avid aviation enthusiasts thanks to its deft balancing act between heritage and modernism. The newest installment is written for the aviator in all of us, the one who yearns for unrestricted flight above the mundane and the mundane above the extraordinary.
All The Details: Pilot Big Date Flyback
Zenith Pilot watches aren’t complete without a chronograph model. Furthermore, Zenith has taken things a step further with this latest iteration by creating a new version of its El Primero 3600 caliber with a slew of new features designed especially for the Pilot.
There are two variations of the Pilot Big Date Flyback, both of which are offered in a case size of 42.5 millimeters. The “Rainbow Flyback,” a highly regarded model of El Primero’s Flyback chronographs, served as inspiration for the stainless steel version. The minutes totalizer on the chronograph is designed with contrasting colors so that you can easily read the five-minute intervals. A further homage to 1997’s legendary El Primero Rainbow can be seen in the orange coloring of the central chronograph seconds and chronograph minutes hands. The black ceramic version has a stark, industrial appearance thanks to the contrast between the opaline black corrugated dial and the luminescent white markers and hands.
The new El Primero 3652 is an automatic high-frequency chronograph caliber that incorporates two features—the big date and the flyback function—that are a natural fit for the Pilot’s 5Hz chronograph. In addition to its large, legible date display, the Pilot Big Date Flyback also boasts a cutting-edge, patented compliant mechanism that advances and stabilizes both big date wheels in less than 0.03 seconds. The flyback feature, which was originally designed for pilots who wore thick sheepskin gloves, allows the chronograph function to be reset to zero and restarted with a single push of a button, making it easier to use and giving the pilot the option of recording consecutive times without pausing.
The “artificial horizon” rotor of the El Primero chronograph caliber can be seen through the see-through case back. The ceramic Pilot Big Date Flyback comes with a black and khaki cordura-effect rubber strap, while the steel version comes with a black cordura-effect rubber and a brown leather strap. Each strap has a built-in quick-release mechanism that allows for tool-free replacement.
The new Pilot collection has been rethought from the ground up, and instead of emulating a bygone era, it takes design cues from aviation’s rich history and vibrant present. It’s built to last, it’s easy to read, and it’s intuitive, all qualities that define a Pilot watch and that Zenith helped define with some of the earliest recorded aviator clocks and dashboard instruments. Are you ready to reach for the stars?