ZENITH Unveils New Pilot Collection and DEFY Models at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023
Swiss luxury watchmaker ZENITH debuts several new watches at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023. The event saw the next Pilot collection generation with a new form factor and new entries in the DEFY line.
ZENITH first trademarked the French term ‘Pilote’ in 1888 and the English term ‘Pilot’ in 1904. It is the only brand that can use the word on its dial, and the Pilot collection that carries the name serves as an homage to its aviation history and is the longest-running line in the watchmaker’s catalog.
The new reimagined ZENITH Pilot collection comes in stainless steel or black micro-blasted ceramic cases, with three-hand automatic or big date flyback chronograph configurations.
The 42.5mm Pilot Big Date Flyback is a column-wheel chronograph with a flyback function. It features the model’s iconic Big Date window at 6 o’clock, a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock, and a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. It has a black dial with horizontal grooves and black-and-white hour, minute, and seconds hands with Superluminova SLN C1. We can see applied Arabic numerals with Superluminova SLN C1, a see-through case back, a fully interchangeable strap system with both a black and a khaki Cordura effect rubber strap, and water resistance of 100 meters. The stainless steel version is a tribute to the original 1997 EL Primero Flyback and features contrasting colors on the minute counter’s periphery and orange seconds and chronograph minutes hands.
Powering the Pilot Big Date Flyback is the new automatic El Primero 3652 movement that runs at a 5Hz frequency and has a big date and flyback function. It sports a special Pilot Artificial Horizon black oscillating weight and has approximately 50 hours of power reserve. The black micro-blasted ceramic Pilot Big Date Flyback is priced at $13,500, while the stainless steel Pilot Big Date Flyback comes in at $11,500.
The 40mm Pilot Automatic is a three-hand model with black and white hour, minute, and second hands with Superluminova SLN C1, applied Arabic numerals with Superluminova SLN C1, a fully interchangeable strap system with both a black and a khaki Cordura effect rubber strap, and water resistance of 10m, and water resistance up to 100 meters.
The Pilot Automatic runs on the El Primero 3620 movement at a 5Hz frequency and has approximately 50 hours of power reserve. The black micro-blasted ceramic Pilot Automatic is pegged at $9,600, while the Pilot Automatic in stainless steel gets a $7,500 price tag.
Also revealed at Watches and Wonders Geneva 2023 were new additions to the DEFY imprint. The DEFY Skyline, the DEFY Skyline Skeleton, and the DEFY Revival Shadow are re-imaginations of the first DEFY silhouette from 1969 with a modern blacked-out design. The watches sport the latest generation of the seminal El Primero high-frequency caliber.
The 40mm DEFY Skyline Black Ceramic features a sunray-finished black galvanic dial with a Zenith four-pointed star geometric pattern, 1/10th of a second subdial at 9 o’clock, a silicon escape wheel and lever, and a screwed-in crown. We can see the black-and-white hour, minute, and second hands with Superluminova SLN C1 and applied Arabic numerals with Superluminova SLN C1. It has a fully interchangeable strap system with both black and khaki Cordura effect rubber straps, plus water resistance of 100 meters.
The 41mm DEFY Skyline Black Ceramic Skeleton features an open dial with a blackened large central four-pointed star element, revealing the skeleton movement with black bridges and a main plate. It shares the same features as the black ceramic variant.
Both references are powered by the El Primero 3620 automatic high-frequency manufacture movement, running at a 5Hz frequency and providing a 1/10th of a second indicator directly driven by the escapement. It has an automatic bi-directional winding mechanism with a blackened star-shaped rotor and brings a power reserve of approximately 60 hours. The DEFY Skyline Black Ceramic costs $15,000, while the DEFY Skyline Black Ceramic Skeleton comes in at $17,000.
Finally, the latest addition to the DEFY Revival collection, the DEFY Revival Shadow, reimagines the very first DEFY form from 1969 and gives the modern creation a vintage silhouette. It features a matte black dial, rhodium-plated faceted hour markers, hands with beige Superluminova, a sapphire display back, a micro-blasted titanium ladder bracelet, and water resistance of up to 300 meters.
The DEFY Revival Shadow is powered by the 4 Hz Elite 670 automatic movement with a power reserve of 50 hours. It has a satin-finished star-shaped oscillating weight. The DEFY Revival Shadow carries a $7,400 price tag.
The new ZENITH Pilot and DEFY collections are now available from ZENITH physical and online boutiques and authorized Zenith retailers worldwide. In the meantime, check out the ZENITH watches in the images here.
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