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Modern watchmaking’s newest novelty is a pure silver caseback. While bronze casebacks were a favourite of watchmakers in 2018, it’s quite unusual for them to stray from durable metals like steel and aluminium and indulge in lustrous metals like silver. The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special seems to be the first in reviving this endeavour, with a caseback  that moves away from the usual platinum, gold or steel.

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Edition
Enlarged numerical indicators on the Type 20’s metal ‘Bolted’ dial

The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special is the first silver-cased wristwatch from Zenith and notably their first unveiling prior to Baselworld 2019. The Swiss watchmaker stated that the brushed silver case and aircraft engraving on the caseback is a nod to vintage aviation. The dial’s metal welding or ‘bolted’ aesthetic adds to this allure. The oversized element of the timepiece seems to be everywhere, from the numerical indicators to the crown, to the hands. The 45mm case and the oversized indicators make it appear like a navigation tool from World War II. 

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Edition
Vintage Aeroplane engraving on its caseback with special ‘Montre D’Aeronee’ engraving around its case

Inside, we see a Zenith Elite Automatic 679 movement with a power reserve of 50 hours. Notably, the numerical indicators and hands on its dial are luminescent. The timepiece also features a brown calfskin leather strap that’s buckled in pure silver. 

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Special Edition
Oversized crown corresponding to its dial

While the Type 20 capsule was unveiled last week and will be available for standard retail, the ‘Type 20 Extra Special’ will be limited to just 200 builds and is priced at US$ 7,700. Zenith stated that the timepiece will be made available for retail around late April this year. 

Reference Number: 05.2430.679.17.C902

All images: Courtesy brand

Mikhail Gomes
Senior Features Writer
A watch aficionado, Gomes also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.