Zenith was one of the first watch manufacturers to create flight instruments to equip various aircraft and spaceships manned by the aviation pioneers. The Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT 1903 plays tribute to this area.
Known for their precision and exceptional ability to withstand vibrations, magnetic fields and variations, Zenith’s altimeters, onboard watches and chronographs, as well as its wristwatches, became extremely popular with pilots, who were thus accompanied in their feats by the brand with the guiding star. In just over a century, Louis Blériot, Morane and more recently Felix Baumgartner, have fulfilled their destiny and put their name in the history books with a Zenith instrument on their wrist or on their cockpit controls.
A cult watch among collectors, the Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 played a key role in the burgeoning airmail business, and was fitted as of 1939 on the instrument panels of a number of aircraft, such as the Caudron trainer planes used by the French airforce.
The Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT 1903 features a case made of black DLC-coated titanium that is therefore ultra-light despite its 48 mm diameter. The ratcheted crown, typical of historical aviator watches, just in case also ensures a perfect grip even with pilot’s gloves.
The five-times sandblasted black dial reproduces the generous original Arabic numerals ensuring perfect readability by day or night. The luminous glow of these delightfully vintage figures stems from a first “old radium” treatment covered with a more classic Super-LumiNova treatment. The effect is fascinating and the resulting appearance truly unique, since this ingenious combination creates a creamy shade enlivened by tiny retro accents that cannot be identically reproduced from one watch to the next. Each dial thus becomes unique and further heightens the exclusive character of the 1,903-piece limited edition, with the individual number appearing on a special plate screwed to the side of the case middle, like an aircraft rivet.
Pilot Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT 1903
• Tribute to the Wright brothers, pioneers in aviation history
• 48 mm titanium case
• Zenith Automatic Elite dual time calibre “693”
• Arabic numerals entirely made of Super-LumiNova
• Case-back adorned with Zenith flying instruments logos and The Wright brothers’ plane
• Limited edition of 1.903 units
Zenith Elite 693, automatic
Calibre: 11 ½ ‘‘‘ (Diameter: 25.6 mm)
Thickness: 3,94 mm
Frequency: 28.800 A/h (= 4 Hz)
Power-reserve: min. 50 hours
Finishes: Oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” pattern
Hours and minutes in the centre
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
24-hour second time-zone indicator
Case, Dial & Hands
Material: Titanium case with DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) coating
Diameter: 48 mm
Diameter opening: 40 mm
Thickness: 15,80 mm
Crystal: Box-shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Case-back: with Zenith flying instruments logos and The Wright brothers’ plane
Water-resistance: 10 ATM
Dial: Matt black
Hour-markers: Super-LumiNova SLN Old Radium
Hands: Black ruthenium, satin-finished with Super-LumiNova SLN Old Radium
Steel pin buckle with black DLC coating
Vintage-effect nubuck heat-embossed with “Zenith Flying Instruments” logo