HANDS-ON: Zenith Pilot Type 20 ‘Blueprint’ Limited Edition

Announced last month, the latest Type 20 has hit Australian shores. The new ‘Blueprint’ Limited Edition takes the popular model and turns its dial into something informational, bringing the wearer into the creation process by putting part of a dial’s production plans front and centre.

The specs of the Pilot Type 20 ‘Blueprint’ are familiar. A 45mm stainless steel case with a combination of polished and brushed finishing, the oversized onion crown, and the plaque on the side of the case which for this new model, bears its limitation number xxx/250.

Underneath the engraved case back featuring the Zenith flying instruments logo is the automatic Elite 679 movement which beats at 28,800 VPH and has a power reserve of fifty hours.

So now that we have all the familiar specs out of the way, let’s get to the selling point – the double layered dial. The first is that of the matte blue dial onto which the plans/ notes used by the dial maker are printed. The sapphire crystal forms the second layer, onto which the hour markers and logo are applied in white varnish.

This is obviously far more interesting than having left it just as a printed dial onto with the hour markers applied in a more ‘regular’ fashion, and more interesting than model variants that are just colour or case material changes. The hands are rhodium-plated and coated with Super-LumiNova. When I saw it, I also wondered if, during the design process, anyone had discussed the possibility of illuminating the blueprint.

It comes on a very ‘pilot’ watch inspired blue calfskin strap with rivets and a titanium pin buckle that is very ‘pilot’. One thing that needs to be noted is that this strap is the usual length, but because of the layering and rivets, it is more stiff than single layered straps and thus, won’t soften/ bend as much over time. I think it would suit a bund strap, as well.

In an edition of 250 pieces, a limited number are now available in Australia, with an RRP of AUD 12,200.

The Nike Air Presto “Soar” ‘blueprint’ sneakers featuring the sketches of the original Presto were released a few days ago, so it is possible to buy a ‘matching’ schematics duo this year, if you are so inclined.


[Photo credit: Zenith for the double dial construction photo]

Categories: Hands-on, Limited Editions, Watch Profile, watches, Zenith

2 replies

  1. The style of the numerals harkens back to WWI aircraft instruments. A few years ago on my bench was a timepiece from a WWI French bomber with the same numerals. The maker was the Swiss firm Doxa.



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