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This Week In Watches The best of the rest (so far) from Zenith by Rob NuddsJanuary 18, 2020 MIN READThis Week In Watches

With bags of goodies from LVMH hitting the market at the same time, there’s a lot to choose from. The stand-out piece? The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue.

Take a look at these new releases from Zenith and let us know which one you’d like to see covered in an in-depth review in the comments below.

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue 03.2434.679/20.I010

You’ve heard about the fact that Zenith is the only watch company actually allowed to put the word Pilot on the dial, right? You hadn’t? Wow, I hope the rock you’ve been living under was nice. Seriously, as much as I love Zenith (and I do love Zenith), I’ve repeated that fact so many times I’ve started saying it in my sleep.

ZENITH-Pilot-Type-20-Rescue-Watch

Every so often, however, it really feels like it’s worth reminding people because the word Pilot just leaps right out of the dial and smacks you across the chops. Why? Because in an industry where the term “unique” is used as ubiquitously as nudity in Game of Thrones, this is actually rather singular.

It also helps that reference 03.2434.679/20.I010 is a sexy-as-hell update to the Pilot Type 20 range, which has long been on my wish list. Why? Those oversized Arabic numerals made entirely from luminous material are to die for. Powering this 45mm wrist monster is the Elite 679 automatic caliber, which has 28,800vph operating frequency and a 50-hour power reserve. At CHF 7,400 it isn’t cheap, but you do get a whole lump of watch for your money. The slate gray sun-ray dial is a treat and it looks miles better on the time-only version than it does on the…

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Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph 03.2434.4069/20.I010

More is sometimes less. In this case, the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Rescue Chronograph gains the ability to track elapsed time on demand and loses the sumptuous dial balance the time-only Rescue 03.2434.679/20.I010 has. These stuffy bi-compax chronographs in what is otherwise one of my favorite ranges from Zenith do nothing for me. It looks like the movement, which is patently too small for the heaving 45mm case, went for a short walk in the Arctic and got lost somewhere around the North Pole. That said, the extra functionality will make this a winner for some.

In its favor is the fact that the movement in question is the high-frequency (36,000vph) El Primero 4069 Automatic caliber. A pedigree like few others and a solid 50-hour power reserve make this movement one of the most desirable on the market at this price point, and its presence goes some way towards justifying the CHF 7,900 retail price, which isn’t a massive premium over the time-only version considering the movement upgrade.

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Zenith Defy 21 Carl Cox Edition 10.9001.9004/99.R941

When it comes to brand/brand ambassador collaborations, cynicism is the stock response. The relevance of the ambassador to the ethos of the brand in question can make or break a model. Here we have DJ Carl Cox working with Zenith to produce a record-themed entrant to the Defy 21 collection. In all honesty, I don’t want to like it. My gut feeling is that I would never find myself desiring a music/horology mash-up. Yet, from a purely aesthetic perspective, it isn’t half bad.

It is an understandable (and full-throttle) nod to Carl Cox’s profession…

The temptation to replace the going seconds sub-dial with a miniaturized vinyl was clearly too great for those behind this project. As cheesy as it sounds, the execution is excellent. Rather than hamming up this piece to unbearable levels, it kind of makes it work. At the very least, it is an understandable (and full-throttle) nod to Carl Cox’s profession. It’s far better than simply switching up the colorway and anointing it the result of a genuine meeting of minds.

The El Primero 9004 automatic is chronometer-certified (by TIME LAB), and its 36,000vph will ensure the rotating disc won’t skip a beat. Limited to 200 units, the Zenith Defy 21 Carl Cox Edition with a full-carbon case will retail for CHF 19,500, which will no doubt leave the sound of the cash register ringing in your ears. Learn more about Zenith and its watches here.

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About the author

Rob Nudds

Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more

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