There are only handful of times when a watch company, especially a big one, listens to watch enthusiasts and re-releases a watch based upon their feedback. Zenith did just that when it re-released the Type 20 Extra Special edition this year in Basel with an in-house movement and bronze case. Couple of years ago Zenith had released the Type 20 Pilots watch with Sellita movement and it was somewhat disappointing given Zenith’s storied history around in-house movements. Zenith’s justification was that it was at a much lower price point, which was a true statement.
Extra Special Bronze gives this luxury Pilot watch a scuffed tool watch appearance before the break-in period happens. The bronze oxidizes quickly and develops a patina which gives it an instant appearance of a vintage watch. And in a 45mm case, it has even a greater wrist presence.
Unlike majority of the Zenith watches, this watch does not have the legendary El Primero movement. Instead, it has the Elite 679 automatic movement. Calibre 679 is a 3-hander (with central seconds) and power reserve of 55 hours. It is a pleasure to wind this butter-smooth movement with the big screw-in crown, possibly the closest experience to winding a pocket watch on wrist.
Extra Special Bronze is a big watch but it is light enough to wear since it has a bronze case and titanium case back. The case thickness is 14.25mm and it has a domed sapphire crystal with AR coating on both sides. The caseback is intentionally done in titanium so that bronze oxidization does not leave a stain on the wrist. There is a nice engraving of a motif of a plane and Zenith logo. The lugs are narrow; hence the watch appears smaller on the wrist.
The gold-plated hands have a very generous coat of C3 SuperLuminova. After being out under daylight, this watch glows bright under shade or in a dark room. The fonts of hour numerals are large and are also generously applied with bright lume. The railroad track minute markers and minutes in orange with “Extra Special” also in orange gives the dial a nice contrast.
This watch comes on a comfortable oil nubuck leather strap with protective rubber lining and a titanium tang buckle. The rubber lining is helpful in repelling sweat and splashing in water (100-meter water resistance).
Extra Special Bronze is surprisingly a good, bold, ultramasculine watch. I cannot comment on the value as I have learnt (by now) that value is a very relative term. The watch retails for 6,900 CHF and the reference number is 29.2430.679/21.C753.
You can request more information directly from Zenith website.
Photography credit goes to Scott Sitkiewitz. No tobacco product was harmed during the photo shoot.