Two timepieces, two different takes on vintage inspiration. The Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Silver features a riveted dial reminiscent of World War II plane bodies. Powered by the Elite 679 automatic movement, this 45mm statement watch is inspired by the vintage military pilot’s instruments made by Zenith.
Connect the Dots
Two timepieces, two different takes on vintage inspiration. On this page, the Longines Heritage Military stands out with its carefully aged dial featuring hand-sprayed black specks, which matches the oxidised dial of an actual military watch worn by a British Royal Air Force radiotelegraph operator in World War II. Its 38.5mm steel case is just a tad bigger than the original.
Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms “Nageurs de Combat” Limited Edition pays tribute to the French Combat Swimmers unit. The French naval diver unit began using the Fifty Fathoms back in the 1950s, shortly after it was formed. Featuring a stamped image of the French Combat Diver Qualification Badge on its caseback, this 45mm steel timepiece is powered by an automatic in-house calibre with a five-day power reserve.
On The Up
One of the pillars in IWC’s 2019 line-up of pilot’s watches is the Spitfire family, named after the well-known British warplane used in World War II. All seven new Spitfire watches are powered by IWC in-house movements, including the Pilot’s Watch Automatic Spitfire shown here. Housed in a 39mm steel case (it also comes in bronze), this watch is a design descendant of IWC’s Mark XI military watch.
Military-green accents characterise the Breitling Aviator 8 Curtiss Warhawk, a tribute to the WWII-era American fighter plane, the P-40 Warhawk. (Its transparent caseback features a printed image of the aircraft, complete with shark imagery that was seen on many WWII warplanes.) The 43mm steel timepiece is powered by Breitling’s B01 column-wheel chronograph movement.
The MA-1 flight jacket used by the US Air Force in the 1950s inspired the latest BR 03-92 pilot’s watch by Bell & Ross. The watch’s 42mm matte khaki ceramic case is the same colour as that of the nylon jacket, while its orange accents are of the same colour as the jacket’s lining. This bright lining was meant to be worn on the outside should a pilot be downed, serving as a beacon for search and rescue personnel.
The popular Black Bay family is inspired by Tudor’s Submariner watches – professional divers’ watches that were used by various military organisations in the past. The Tudor Heritage Black Bay Steel offers a more rugged look than other Black Bay models with its steel (instead of aluminium) bezel. Inside its 41mm steel case, you’ll find the in-house automatic Calibre MT5612, which has a 70-hour power reserve.
Panerai adds four green-dialled pieces to its Radiomir family, which has a case design influenced by a case developed for Italian naval divers in the 1940s. The one shown here is the Panerai Radiomir 45mm (PAM 995), which contrasts the dial’s deep green with beige luminous hour markers. Panerai’s P.4000 automatic movement – its thinnest – powers this steel timepiece and endows it with a three-day power reserve.