The year 2012 will be remembered by many as the year of “world timers”. Right after the stunning Transocean Chronograph Unitime by Breitling, somewhat ascetic Pilot Worldtimer by IWC, and the special edition World Timer ALT1 UTC by Bremont, the Swiss watchmaker Zenith offers its new Pilot Doublematic family that is available both in stainless steel (Ref. 03.2400.4046/21.C721, which is reviewed here) and more expensive 18-karat rose gold cases.
As usual, Zenith’s main selling point is the mechanism that makes all of its numerous features actually work.
Called Zenith caliber El Primero 4046, the automatic mechanism beats at the signature frequency of 36,000 semi-oscillations per hour and is literally stuffed with functions like a particularly expensive Swiss army knife.
According to official info, the list includes the so-called “worldtimer” function that allows you to instantly check the time in any of the 24 main time zones, as well as a 30-minute chronograph, a big date, and even an alarm. Of course, the list of functions is not as impressive as we are used to seeing when it comes to Japanese quartz watches, however, for an automatic timekeeper it is more than remarkable.
It is worth noting that, comprising 439 parts and measuring 30 millimeters in diameter and striking 9 millimeters in height, the movement is equipped with a pair of spring barrels: one for the alarm function and the other for the, um, other functions.
There is even a power reserve sub-dial that makes sure that the alarm module will not run out of juice at the worst possible moment, as well as an “on/off” indicator that allows you to instantly check the status of the alarm.
Since the movement is not particularly compact, the body is also impressive in its massive presence.
Being whole 45 millimeters in diameter, it is also thick. However, thanks to its highly technocratic appearance, it doesn’t look ridiculously huge: it takes just a single glance to understand that its impressive size is a derivative of its not least impressive list of useful complications.
Despite the torrent of data that the watch brings to your eyes, the dial is finely structured and highly legible thanks to its high-contrast color scheme, discrete use of Superluminova on the hands and Arabic numerals, and skillful positioning of its numerous sub-dials.
I especially like the big date window, which is as visually attractive as the famous “Panorama Date” display on the German Glashutte Original watches.
Well, I am pretty sure that the price of the new Zenith Pilot Doublematic (Ref. 03.2400.4046/21.C721) will be as impressive as the watch itself. On the other hand, something as flimsy as a price tag is not an issue for a person going through a midlife crisis, is it?*
See also: Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Open-Heart Chronograph
* UPDATE ON PRICE: Okay, Zenith will sell this new Doublematic World Timer at a pretty impressive price of $16,400 for a version in stainless steel, but the MSRP is well-justified by the gorgeous mechanism that makes it tick.
Zenith Pilot Doublematic World Timer (03.2400.4046/21.C721) specification
Price: $16,400 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber El Primero 4046, 30.00 mm x 9.05 mm, 439 parts, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 41
Movement frequency: 36,000 vph
Movement decoration: Decorated by hand
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, alarm, 24 time zones (world timer, GMT), chronograph, big date, power reserve
Power reserve: 50 hours
Case: Stainless steel (also a version in rose gold)
Size: 45.00 mm
Numerals: Arabic, luminous (Superluminova)
Hour markers: Red
Hands: Luminous (Superluminova)
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Alligator leather with hand-sewn topstitching, pin buckle (matching case) or folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective coating