Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Automatic Chronograph 45mm Bronze and Nubuck Watch, Ref. No. 29.2430.4069/21.C800
The Merciful Mutiny
In 1975, the order came from Zenith management to cease all production of mechanical watches and make way quartz technology. This meant scrapping the relatively young El Primero chronograph’s tooling. The foreman of Workshop 4, Mr Charles Vermot, had other ideas. Refusing to see a decade of his life tossed on the scrap heap, he furtively stored everything – tools, presses, cutters, cams, plans, the lot – in a dusty attic, for later retrieval. And thank goodness he did.
The Prize-Winning Flight
In 1909, the Daily Mail offered a £1,000 prize to the first man to fly the English Channel in a heavier-than-air, powered aircraft. That man was French inventor Mr Louis Blériot, who flew from France in his own Type XI monoplane. On landing atop the White Cliffs of Dover after struggling through early-morning fog, his Zenith watch, “which I use regularly, and cannot recommend it highly enough”, told him the flight had taken 36 minutes and 30 seconds. Zenith’s pilot credentials were cemented, with the current collection’s Pilot Type 20 designed in Mr Blériot’s honour.