Zenith Reveals Its New Pilot Collection at Watches & Wonders 2023

Lindsay Judge   |   27-03-2023

Zenith has unveiled its new Pilot collection, paying homage to the brand’s connection to aviation which dates back as far as the late 19th century.

The new Pilot takes inspiration from the band’s original design but has been redesigned from scratch, featuring a vintage aesthetic but incorporating the best in watchmaking and innovation today. It is imbued with all the essential features of durability, legibility and intuitiveness while respecting the codes of Pilot watches that Zenith largely defined over a century ago, but revisited in a more contemporary context with some added Zenith flair and understated nods to the world of aviation.

Pilot Chronograph in Steel


The Pilot Automatic revisits the collection’s aesthetic codes with a silhouette full of subtle details. Crafted in a 40mm case in either stainless steel or black ceramic, the Pilot Automatic features an entirely new case design with a distinct flat-top round bezel fixed on top of the rounded case. In the steel version, the surfaces are vertically satin-brushed with polished chamfers, while the black ceramic version is entirely microblasted for a stealthy matte finish. The oversized crown, a defining feature of Pilot watches, takes on a more modern, angular form, while remaining easy to operate.


Pilot Automatic Steel


The black opaline dial, with its horizontal grooves, mimics the look of corrugated metal sheets that make up the fuselage of much older aircraft. The oversized luminescent Arabic numerals, a signature feature of ZENITH Pilot watches and dashboard instruments since the early 1900s, take on a more modern font and are applied as metal markers filled with white Super-LumiNova. At 6 o’clock above the date window, the luminescent hour marker takes the form of a flat white line, recalling the artificial horizon instrument in a plane. Here, it allows the wearer to instantly understand the orientation of the watch and read the time without second-guessing. The dial is signed “Pilot”, as Zenith remains the first and only brand to hold the rights to mark its dials with the term.


The Pilot Big Date Flyback features a new version of the brand’s El Primero 3600 calibre, with a host of new functions that have been specifically conceived for the Pilot. This watch comes in two distinct versions, both in a 42.5mm case.


Pilot Big Date Flyback


The stainless steel version takes inspiration from the brand’s “Rainbow Flyback” with the chronograph’s minutes totalizer is done in alternating colours to more easily distinguish between the five-minute marks. The central chronograph seconds as well as the chronograph minutes hands are done in a bright orange tone, another nod to the iconic El Primero Rainbow from 1997. The black ceramic version takes on an achromatic, utilitarian look with luminescent white markers and hands contrasting boldly against the opaline black corrugated dial.



The new El Primero 3652 automatic high-frequency chronograph calibre integrates two functions to the 5Hz chronograph that are a perfect fit for the Pilot: the big date and the flyback function. Beyond its easy readability, the oversized date display in the Pilot Big Date Flyback features a next-gen patented compliant mechanism that advances and stabilizes both of the big date’s wheels in less than 0.03 seconds. Originally conceived for aviators who wore thick sheepskin gloves, the flyback function allows the chronograph function to be reset to zero and restarted by a single push of a button, simplifying the pilot’s operations and offering the possibility to record consecutive times without stopping. The El Primero chronograph calibre with its “artificial horizon” rotor is visible through the display back. The Pilot Big Date Flyback in ceramic is delivered with black and khaki Cordura-effect rubber, while the steel version comes with a black Cordura-effect rubber strap and a brown leather strap. All the straps come with an integrated quick-release mechanism for easy swapping without tools.


The watches debuted on the first day of Watches & Wonders in Geneva.