The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.

Zenith Montre D'Aéronef Type 20 GMT Limited Edition



In 2013, Zenith came out with a collection of 48mm Pilot watches called the Type 20 Montre D'Aéronef. In addition to the steel cased GMT and annual calendar models, there was a "Red Baron" limited edition which featured a titanium case with a black DLC finish. For 2016, Zenith has come out with an extremely limited edition (50 pieces) Montre D'Aéronef Type 20 GMT watch that shares the case, complication, and similar dial decor of the Red Baron, but features a blue dial and blue strap.

Mechanically, the 2016 Type 20 GMT Limited Edition functions identically to the more conservative Captain GMT (which has been renamed the Elite Dual Time). The Calibre 693 "in house" movement is manually wound and features hour and minute hands controlled with the crown at three o'clock. The GMT function is controlled by an external pusher at the ten o'clock position of the case side. This setup is often more desirable than other configurations because the GMT hand can easily be adjusted without pulling out the crown.

While this series of watch is smaller than the original massive 57.5mm Type 20 Montre D'Aéronef Pilot of 2012, it is still a statement piece. That was true in 2013, and as tastes have gravitated back toward smaller watches, it's even more true now. As would be expected with the use of titanium, the 2016 limited edition is considerably lighter at 129.3 grams than the 152.4 gram stainless steel model.

The dial color is a deep shade of blue that is new to the Type 20 Montre D'Aéronef series. Like the Red Baron and the steel models, the dial is extremely clean and includes the familiar large Arabic "pilot" style hour markers. The twelve hour markers are made of SuperLuminova and outlined in black giving them dimensionality. Similar to the Red Baron are the red Arabic 24-hour indices (odd numbers only) in the minute track.

The blue crocodile strap is new for the series and has been specifically chosen to match the dial, though it is slightly darker than the dial.

Like the steel model, this watch retails for $7,800. Below are additional photos of this (very) limited edition.

The deep blue dial and Red Baron inspired red odd numbers on the minute track for GMT functionality.

The seconds subdial and SuperLuminova Arabic number hour markers.

The case and lugs of the DLC coated titanium case, and the blue alligator strap with contrast stitching.

The GMT pusher (At 10 o'clock) and the case side plaque indicating the edition number. Nice touch that it is applied with heat blued screws.

The familiar oversized onion style crown. This feature was originally used to allow pilots to make in-flight adjustments while wearing gloves in their frigid cockpits.

The engraved and DLC coated titanium case back of the 96.2436.693/51.C779.

The navy blue strap with contrast stitching and vintage buckle of the 96.2436.693/51.C779.

A Burlingame Avenue wrist shot of the 96.2436.693/51.C779.

The case profile of the 96.2436.693/51.C779.

A daylight view of the midnight blue dial on the new 96.2436.693/51.C779.

A lume shot of the new 2016 titanium DLC limited edition 96.2436.693/51.C779.

The 2013 Limited Edition Red Baron.

The new 2016 limited edition is a variation of this steel case 48mm GMT that made its debut in 2013 03.2430.693/21.C723.

The Topper Blog consists mainly of original writing by Rob & Russ Caplan with occasional special contributions and interviews. All photography in the blog is taken at Topper Fine Jewelers , or on location unless otherwise indicated in the photo captions.