Introducing The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue and Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph Watches


Zenith unveiled its 2020 releases at the recently concluded LVMH Dubai Watch Week. Just a few days back we showed you the dressy and elegant new Zenith Elite collection and today we would be looking at the new casual and sporty Pilot Type 20 Rescue watches. Featuring bold legible dials that are packaged within large chunky cases, the Pilot Type 20 Rescue and the Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph are modern watches that present a great take on historical pilot watches. 


But before we go ahead and have a look at the individual references, let’s get the common aspects between these watches out of the way. Starting with the dial, both watches feature a sunburst grey face that is characterized by bold Arabic numerals. The applied numerals lend the dial a nice sense of depth, but what is more interesting is that the numerals themselves are huge carved out chunks of Superluminova which implies that these watches would be extremely easy to read in dark conditions. A printed minute track runs on the outer periphery of the dial and features double-digit numerals at intervals of 5 that like the tip of the second’s hand have been presented in yellow to add a nice pop of color. On the handset front, you have a familiar well-proportioned and ornate handset that has been seen on many previous Pilot Type 20 releases. 


Moving on to the case, both watches share the same 45mm brushed stainless steel case, a first for the brands Pilot Type 20 collection. Now, while I cannot comment on the wearability of these watches without going hands-on with them but going by my prior experience of trying on a 45mm Zenith Pilots Watch, I can tell you upfront that these are large watches that would certainly wear large on the wrist. But at the same time, it is worth noting that the size is a deliberate choice as this watch pays a tribute to pilots watches from the past that were designed to be large to help the pilot read the time even from a distance without being distracted. There is an oversized crown at 3 and the cases are water-resistant to a healthy 100 meters.  


Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue 

This is a clean and fuss-free three-hand watch that only tells the time. The lack of a complication helps keep the dial sterile and legible. Powering this watch is Zenith’s in-house Elite 679 caliber that operates at a frequency of 4Hz and offers a power reserve of around 50 hours when fully wound. The movement offers basic timekeeping functions that include hours, minutes and seconds.


Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph

This is the more complicated elder sibling of the Pilot Type 20 Rescue. While the design DNA remains similar, there are a few noteworthy differences. First is the addition of two sub-registers at 3 and 9 that are meant to track the chronograph minutes and running seconds. Commonly referred to as Bi-Compax this type of layout helps keep the balance of the dial intact further aiding legibility. Second, as you can see the case on this watch features two oversized pushers at 2 and 4 that can be utilized to activate and stop the chronograph function. Driving this watch is Zenith’s El Primero 4069 movement. This is an automatic column wheel-based chronograph movement that operates at a high frequency of 5 Hz resulting in an extra smooth sweep of the seconds hand and offers an autonomy of 50 hours.

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