New Zenith Pilot & Defy Watches

Zenith, despite the massive success from their recent Chronomaster Sport Chronograph, is not resting on their laurels, releasing not one but two new models. This means that Zenith has added models to their Chronomaster, Defy, and Pilot lines in only the last week. Whereas the Chronomaster Sport seeks to have a greater mass appeal, these two models are far more specialized and exotic in their design.

Reminiscent of Zenith’s Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver, this slightly less-verbose new limited edition, the Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver, is inspired by the riveted panels used frequently in early airplanes. The dial isn’t merely evocative of the concept, but it simply looks exactly like riveted metal panels, which is a very cool effect. The engraved regions of the dial, resembling where steel panels would meet and be riveted together, give it quite a bit of depth and texture. There’s certainly nothing else like it.

Perhaps even more interestingly, the entire case is made from silver, not steel. It’s definitely a conversation piece. In terms of stats, it’s quite large at 45mm, so this will probably be best pursued by those with larger wrists. Powering it, naturally, is an El Primero 4069, and its bi-compax, no-date design gives the dial plenty of room to show off its unique styling. The price for this watch is $9,700 and only 250 will be made. Click here to pre-order yours.

The next watch we’ll look at is an altogether different animal, the exotic Defy 21 Urban Jungle. Whereas the Type 20 Chronograph Silver is a retro throwback, albeit an idealized one, the Urban Jungle is an intensely contemporary watch, thanks to its dark green ceramic case and green skeletonized dial, revealing the equally-exotic El Primero 21 inside. Zenith claims that this new model is made for those who love living in enormous cities, but this doesn’t quite make sense to me. When I look at the Urban Jungle, I get much more of a “safari” vibe than I do of Manhattan. I will say that the semi-exposed El Primero 21 does lend it a dash of industrial design, but in my opinion, the Defy 21 Urban Jungle makes just as much sense for the nature lover as it does the city dweller.

The green ceramic case is definitely on the larger side at 44mm, but it will be, at least, extremely scratch resistant. It’s important to note that in ceramic cases or case components, the color you’re seeing isn’t a coating and it won’t scratch off. With watches like this, you don’t have to live in fear of revealing a thin line of silver underneath, they’ll look pretty much like new for their entire life, just one of the reasons that ceramic is probably my favorite material in watchmaking these days. As I mentioned before, this watch uses the El Primero 21, arguably the most sophisticated mechanical chronograph in the world right now thanks to its 1/100th a second precision. Owing to a combination of materials and that movement, it costs quite a bit more than the Pilot, at $14,500. Click here to pre-order yours.

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