This summer, Zenith adds three new high-flying references to its Pilot collection. Last week we introduced the Pilot Type 20 Hommage à Louis Blériot. Today, we are focusing on the second timepiece, the Pilot Type 20 Skeleton.
Embodying top-flight craftsmanship and watchmaking techniques, the new Pilot Type 20 Squelette houses the Calibre 5011K. This famous pocket-watch movement has been entirely skeletonised in order to reveal the mechanism, while avoiding any compromise in terms of its resistance and reliability.
This construction is ‘airy’ in two key respects. On the one hand, its skeleton-working stems from a particularly demanding and meticulous art performed using the historical bocfil (tiny hacksaw) technique that stems from a tradition of more than 200 years of workmanship. This delicate task consists of engraving and hollowing out the movement by hand with a constant concern for perfect aesthetic and functionality. This is a dizzyingly complex operation, especially given the imposing size of the balance wheel and barrel which exert considerable tensile and traction forces. On the other hand, the nimble hands of skilled and experienced artisans create an aviation-inspired architectural motif featuring sleek lines evoking aircraft turbines or wings. Its finely curved lines are enhanced by fine sandblasting and hand-finished angles, all revealed through the transparency of the sapphire crystal dial and case-back.
Topped by a blue enamel bezel, the 60 mm-diameter case carved in sapphire provides plenty of scope for an exceptional finish. Its gold bezel and lugs are hand-engraved, forming a geometrical motif inspired by the fuselage of Louis Blériot’s planes. The new Pilot Type 20 Squelette watch – displaying all the distinctive identity codes of Zenith aviator watches including a broad ratcheted crown enabling easy adjustment with pilot’s gloves, as well as stylised hours and minutes hands sweeping over large impeccably legible numerals – is entirely in tune with the DNA of the collection. At the heart of this composition, the gold hands as well as the hollowed and blued Arabic numerals echo the blue enamel on the bezel, displaying the essential functions of the entirely skeleton-worked manual-winding Calibre 5011K. It embodies the glorious origins of the 5011 pocket-watch calibre that distinguished itself by its remarkable precision from the 1960s onwards and equipped marine chronometers and pocket watches.