When French pilot Louis Bleriot made the first-ever flight across the English Channel in 1909, he was wearing a Zenith watch on his wrist. Since man first started taking to the skies, Zenith has been providing those brave souls with pilot watches. Zenith was such an early sponsor of flight that it is the only company that can use the word “Pilot” on a watch dial (their forward-thinking marketing savvy had them trademark the term).
The Australian Watch Forum is partnering with Zenith for another first—a Pilot Type 20 Extra Special with the Southern Cross.
The Australian Watch Forum is a Facebook group that has been steadily growing over the last 18 months and boasts a membership of 9,000. The collaboration between the forum and Zenith created a Pilot Type 20 that featured the Southern Cross on the face in recognition of the forum and its members. The watch was actually made last year, when membership of the forum was at 3,000, but that didn’t stop the group from getting Zenith’s attention.
The Type 20 isn’t very different from Zenith’s normal model. It was made of bronze, which will patina nicely, and measured 45mm wide and 14.25mm thick. It’s water-resistant up to 100 meters. The titanium case back has an etching of Louis Bleriot’s plane. Inside the watch resides a Zenith in-house calibre Elite 679 self-winding movement with a 50-hour power reserve.
There are a few differences, however.
For instance, the screw-down crown is on the left instead of the normal right. The Arabic numeral hour markers were treated with white and have a layer of Super-LumiNova so that they can be seen in the dark. The blue face harks back to Australia’s colours, but it’s the Southern Cross and the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star that are the real standouts here.
The Type 20 Southern Cross was limited to 26 pieces and was sold exclusively through The Hour Glass Brisbane for AUD$10,900.