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Brief Impressions Review: Zenith Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT Pilot

by Peter Chong on February 24, 2014
Watches

The Zenith Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 GMT Pilot is a followup to the huge success of the time only Montre d’Aéronef Type 20.

Reduced in size from the huge 57.5mm case diameter to a still large 48mm, the new GMT watch seems all the more petite, and managable on the wrist. The watch was introduced in BaselWorld 2013, and first deliveries were sometime in the early 4th quarter of 2013. The watch shown in the photographs is customer owned, and one of the first deliveries of this timepiece.

The Zenith Montre D’Aéronef Type 20 GMT Pilot. Zenith owns the name Pilot, and being the only company allowed to use the name on a watch, is rather discrete with the single word Pilot on the dial.

The Zenith Montre D’Aéronef Type 20 GMT Pilot. Zenith owns the name Pilot, and being the only company allowed to use the name on a watch, is rather discrete with the single word Pilot on the dial.

The case is in stainless steel, has a beautiful black dial, and a design a throwback to the instrumentation designed by Zenith at the turn of the century. The arabic markers and hands are clear and legible as is required for a navigation watch. Both are filled with superluminova, and the watch remains very legible in the dark.

In terms of design, the huge crown makes it easy to wind and adjust the time of the watch even through thick gloves like those which were used in the turn of the century. The large pusher at 10 o’clock allows the GMT hand to be moved one hour a click.

The dial layout is very legible, with a clear reference to the flight instruments Zenith used to make in the turn of the century.

The dial layout is very legible, with a clear reference to the flight instruments Zenith used to make in the turn of the century. Note the plaque bearing the tail registration number as used in aircraft is bolted to the side of the case by blued screws. HB is the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) code for aircraft registered in Switzerland.

Aesthetically, we find the watch to be very pleasant. And on the wrist, despite the rather large case size, is quite comfortable. The casework is very well finished, and the plaque bearing the registration plate: in aviation terminology the tail number, HB being the registry for Swiss registered aircraft.

The caseback, with engraving.

The caseback, with engraving.

The movement is a special edition of the Zenith Elite 693: automatic winding, diameter is 25.6 mm, thickness is 3.94 mm, 186 components, 26 jewels, frequency is 28,800 VpH (4 Hz), power-reserve is min. 50 hours. But the movement is not visible from the caseback which bears an engraving of an aeroplane over the backdrop of the Zenith coat of arms. One of the reasons, other than the beauty of the engraving, is at the movement is rather smaller than the case and would look awkward through a sapphire glass caseback.

 

Deployant's Desirable Mickey held in embrace by a wearer of the Montre D’Aéronef Type 20 GMT Pilot.

Deployant’s Desirable Mickey held in embrace by a wearer of the Montre D’Aéronef Type 20 GMT Pilot.

An ideal navigator GMT watch? We think so, tell us your views.

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