ZENITH’s Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu is an exceptional timepiece that combines a heritage solidly rooted in the history of aviation with self-evident creative daring and the best of traditional expertise. Carved out of sapphire – a first for a 60 mm-diameter case – and housing a legendary historical movement entirely chased and engraved by hand, it is enhanced by an exceptional grand feu enamel dial.
Back in 1960, the Manufacture produced the historical Calibre 5011K and the Neuchâtel Observatory awarded it the title of the most precise chronometer ever presented. This mechanical movement became a legend and equipped marine chronometers and pocket-watches. A small number of original 5011K calibres, found in the archives of the Manufacture, have been updated and remarkably decorated to now find their place in several Pilot Type 20 models consistently issued in extremely limited editions.
The new Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu is equipped with this historic original movement. The case middle and the transparent case-back afford ample views of this mechanical hand-wound 5011K movement. Its 60 mm diameter provides scope for exceptional finishing. Entirely hand-engraved and chased by remarkable artisans, the sides and back of the movement – as well as the gold lugs and bezel – are adorned over their whole surface with intricate scrolled and garland-like motifs reflecting the spirit of traditional Fine Watchmaking.
Oscillating at a rate of 18,000 vibrations per hour, Calibre 5011K also features shock-absorbers on the balance-staff and on the escapement, fine adjustment as well as a self-compensating anti-magnetic Breguet overcoil balance-spring.
No watchmaker had ever yet dared to create a 60 mm-diameter case – including both the middle and back in sapphire and this feat now successfully accomplished by Zenith. Its design nonetheless remains true to the power of the aviator models in the Pilot collection. While the powerful lines and the distinctive design of Zenith aviator watches are naturally part of this Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu watch, the materials used reveal an outstanding timepiece. Here, the famous 60 mm-diameter case is entirely carved out of a block of sapphire. Only the lugs, bezel and crown are made of white gold.
Meticulous workmanship is required to create a perfect case of this size in such a fragile and precious material. It is the first sapphire case in the history of the Manufacture Zenith and also the largest sapphire case in watchmaking history. The Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu model boasts a stunning Grand Feu enamel dial which is created in a complex and subtle process and lends unique character to each of these watch faces.
The Pilot collection is a worthy heir to the years of the race for the skies and the iconic models that have punctuated this history. Since its renewal in 2011, and true to its origins, the Pilot Type 20 collection has adopted a decidedly outsized attitude. With its imposing case, its characteristic oversized numerals, along with a generous crown ensuring smooth and easy handling even with gloves, this latest addition to the collection is entirely in tune with the genetics of the collection.
This model features all the characteristic identity codes of an aviator watch, while displaying the hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock and a power reserve at 3 o’clock. This model will be issued in a 10-piece limited edition.
Model: Pilot Type 20 Grand Feu
60 mm-diameter sapphire
Hand-chased and engraved white gold bezel lugs and crown
Cambered glare-resistant sapphire crystal
EL PRIMERO 5011K
Hand-engraved and chased scrolling motifs
48-hour power reserve
Hours and minutes in the centre
Small seconds at 9 0’clock
Power reserve at 3 o’clock
Grand feu enamel
Arabic numerals in grand feu enamel
White gold pin buckle