Zenith Heritage Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
The annual calendar is truly a technological marvel.
While it plays second fiddle to the perpetual calendar in the minds of most collectors, the reality is that the construction of this calendar mechanism — which generally requires adjusting only once per year, at the end of February — is equally challenging, and in some cases, requires even more components. This particular annual calendar is unique in that it fits within the design parameters of a traditional pilot’s watch and includes high-end materials in its construction, as well as a chronograph.
A Zenith Heritage Pilot Type 20 from the 2010s, it’s housed in a 47mm titanium and red gold case with a sapphire crystal, a red gold ‘onion’ crown, a polished red gold bezel, and dual red gold pushers. It features a luminous, matte grey dial with applied ‘Arabic’ indices, a matching, red gold ‘cathedral’ handset, an outer ‘railroad’ 1/5th-seconds track, a dual-register chronograph, and an annual calendar with day and month displays at 3 o’clock and a date display above 6 o’clock.
Powered by the automatic Zenith El Primero Calibre 4054, it comes paired to a black alligator strap with a signed, titanium pin buckle, and ships with its factory goodies. A beautifully engraved caseback elevates the entire package, driving home the point that this is no ‘ordinary’ pilot’s watch — and no ordinary annual calendar, for that matter.
If a special piece from a storied manufacture is what you’re after, this Zenith is just the ticket — an extraordinary value considering its construction and features, it’s truly a special timepiece.
Check it out today!
Zenith's chronographs in particular gained a reputation for excellence. At first Zenith used Excelsior Park and Valjoux movements, sharing them with Universal Genève and Movado (with which Zenith would merge for a time in 1969). By the 1960s Zenith acquired ébauche manufacturer Martel and began using their movements exclusively, leading to lauded calibers such as the 146HP and 146DP, which launched in 1969.
1969 was a banner year for horology, as it saw the launch of the first automatic chronograph movement. This was a race between a team consisting of Hamilton, Heuer, Buren, Dubois-Depraz, and Breitling; Seiko; and Zenith. Zenith used the Caliber 146 as a basis for the caliber which the brand would dub "El Primero" — "the first." Of the consortium’s Caliber 11, Seiko’s reference 6139, and the El Primero, only the latter feature a “high-beat” movement for increased accuracy.
Zenith ceased using manually-wound movements in their chronographs after the introduction of the El Primero — however, then the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s hit, and the company was sold. Employees were ordered to destroy or otherwise liquidate their mechanical watchmaking tooling, but incredibly, one daring engineer, Charles Vermot, decided to hide machinery behind a false wall that he built himself in the attic of the company’s manufacture in Le Locle. He told no one about what he was doing — not even his family.
Then, in the 1980s after the company had changed hands once again, he led modern Zenith management to this secret cache of horological wonders, in which the El Primero tooling was hidden. Ebel placed the first modern order for El Primero movements in 1984, but it was Rolex, who ordered thousands of calibers to power their new automatic Daytonas, that saved the firm. Today, the El Primero powers numerous vintage-inspired chronographs as well as the new Chronomaster Sport, a watch aimed as a competitor at — with much irony — the Daytona.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.
Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.
We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.
We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Zenith Heritage Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar