Following on from Horologium’s post earlier this month about the Zenith Pilot Montre d’Aeronef Type 20 GMT 1903 is the announcement of a Zenith limited edition for Australia that is also based on the Type 20 and of course, also commemorating an aviator, although in this case, obviously one important to Australia and after whom much, including Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport, is named.
Two new Pilot Type 20 models pay tribute to ‘Smithy’, most widely known as the first pilot to complete a trans-Pacific flight from the U.S. to Australia in 1928, but also the first to make a non-stop crossing of the Australian mainland, the first flights between Australia and New Zealand, and the first eastward Pacific crossing from Australia to the United States. He also made a flight from Australia to London, setting a new record of 10.5 days. Charles Kingsford Smith gained his pilot’s wings in the Royal Flying Corp in 1917 and in the same year, whilst serving with the No.23 Squadron, was shot down and had part of his left foot amputated as a result of his injuries.
The first new edition has a 48mm x 15.8mm case in titanium and 18K rose gold in a combination of polished and brushed finishes. On the side of the case is rose gold plate mouted with two blued screws that features plane registration markings, the letters ‘VH’ (about which you can read here followed by the watch’s serial number. The pusher on the left hand side of the case is rose gold and used for the GMT function.
The dial is blue to represent the sky and decorated with the Southern Cross. The fact that the Southern Cross has also been lumed is a really nice touch to this piece. The movement is the automatic Zenith Elite 693 with a 50 hour power reserve which is also in the Pilot Montre d’Aeronef Type 20 GMT 1903, of which both are variants of the Pilot Montre D’Aeronef Type 20 GMT. The GMT hand is blue and red in the Kingsford Smith model, presumably as a nod to the Australian flag. It comes on a brown alligator strap with a titanium pin buckle with the Zenith star on it.
The caseback has a commemorative engraving of Charles Kingsford Smith and the inscription “Montre d’Aéronef Type 20 – Zenith Flying Instruments”, which also appears as a larger medallion on the blue box in which each of the two watches comes.
The second Kingsford Smith limited edition is also in a 48mm titanium and rose gold case and also features the Southern Cross on a blue dial, but that’s where the similarity ends.
The Pilot Type 20 Tourbillon Tribute to Charles Kingsford Smith contains the automatic Zenith El Primero 4035D movement with, as the name states, a tourbillon. If you look carefully at the tourbillon you will notice there is also a date around it, which is driven by a patented disc system. As well as tourbillon and date there is a chronograph function, with the pushers at 2 o’clock and 4 o’clock. The subdial at 3 o’clock is the 30-minute counter for the chrono and at 6 o’clock is the 12-hour totaliser.
Again, this edition also has the mounted rose gold plated plate with ‘VH’ and the individual serial number. In this instance, this serial number will only go up to a maximum of five, not twenty.
The RRP for the Zenith Pilot Type 20 GMT Tribute to Charles Kingsford Smith is 13,500 CHF and for the Zenith Pilot Type 20 Tourbillon Tribute to Charles Kingsford Smith, 68,200 CHF.