Zenith keeps blue to themselves with the Pilot Collection Boutique Editions

Zenith keeps blue to themselves with the Pilot Collection Boutique Editions

Buffy Acacia
  • Zenith’s new approach to pilot’s watches has been expanded with blue dials.
  • Although they look like standard blue models, they’ve been made exclusive to Zenith boutiques.
  • Both movements are derived from El Primero calibres with a 5Hz beat rate.

Zenith’s history with pilot watches runs so deep that they’re the only brand allowed to print ‘Pilot’ on their dials, thanks to an 1888 trademark which came before the Wright brothers successfully took flight. Last year, they showed a renewed commitment to the genre with a revamped Pilot Collection fusing futuristic attitudes with heritage elements. Now, along with some refurbished vintage watches under the ‘Icons’ name, Zenith have returned to their new Pilot Collection and released Boutique Editions in blue.

Zenith Pilot Big Date Flyback Boutique Edition 1

With the new Zenith Pilot Automatic and Pilot Big Date Flyback, these Boutique Editions are actually pretty close to the black-dialled models which were released last year. All that’s changed is the dial colour, and blue happens to be the second-most popular colour of them all, just behind black. They won’t be difficult to buy, but you’ll have to go through an official Zenith boutique either physically or online if you want one in this sumptuous navy colour scheme. It’s quite a clever move, directing customers away from third-party retailers or other middlemen.

Zenith Pilot Automatic Boutique Edition 2

The dials themselves are fantastic in blue, with the high ridges creating stark highlights against the deep navy backdrop. That texture is said to echo the corrugated hull of early German aircraft, leaning into the historical angle. The Arabic numerals are slightly raised and exceptionally easy to read on both the time-only and chronograph models, The Pilot Big Date Flyback is definitely the star of the collection even if you prefer less-complicated watches, as the generous bicompax layout and the titular big date display makes for a compelling view.

Zenith Pilot Automatic Boutique Edition 1

The stainless steel cases balance power with comfort well, with a 40mm diameter for the Pilot Automatic and 42.5mm for the Pilot Big Date Flyback. They’re a long way away from the 45mm-50mm monsters which were designed to be worn outside leather flight jackets, and are much better suited to a contemporary audience. The respective lug-to-lug lengths of 49.6mm and 51.43mm are still larger than the average 48mm benchmark which most enthusiast-driven brands stick to at the moment however, so be sure you know what sizes suit your wrist best.

Zenith Pilot Automatic Boutique Edition 3

As a brand, Zenith are probably best known for their El Primero movement which was one the first integrated automatic chronograph back in 1969. Both of these Pilot watches use variants of the El Primero line, although they’ve both evolved in drastically different ways. The Zenith Pilot Automatic uses the calibre 3620 which has been stripped back to only display the time and date, but it still retains the signature 36,000vph beat rate. The 3652 within the Pilot Big Date Flyback is a fully featured movement with, of course, a flyback chronograph and a big date complication. Zenith definitely do make more complicated watches, however these are a solid entry into the brand or just perfect for more retro tastes.

Zenith Pilot Automatic and Pilot Big Date Flyback Boutique Editions pricing and availability

The Zenith Pilot Automatic and Pilot Big Date Flyback Boutique Editions are now available exclusively from Zenith physical and online boutiques. Price: CHF 7,500 (Pilot Automatic) / CHF 11,400 (Pilot Big Date Flyback)

Brand Zenith Zenith
Model Pilot Automatic Boutique Edition Pilot Big Date Flyback Boutique Edition
Reference Number 03.4000.3620/51.I003 03.4000.3652/51.I003
Case Dimensions 40mm (D) x 12.9mm (T) x 49.6mm (LTL) 42.5mm (D) x 14.3mm (T) x 51.43mm (LTL)
Case Material Brushed stainless steel Brushed stainless steel
Water Resistance 100 metres 100 metres
Crystal(s) Sapphire Sapphire
Dial Blue with horizontal grooves Blue with horizontal grooves
Lug Width 20mm 20mm
Strap Blue Cordura-effect rubber and brown calfskin leather Blue Cordura-effect rubber and brown calfskin leather strap
Movement El Primero 3620, automatic El Primero 3652, automatic
Power Reserve 60 hours 60 hours
Functions Hours, minutes, seconds, date Hours, minutes, small seconds, big date, flyback chronograph
Availability Available now Available now
Price CHF 7,500 CHF 11,400