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Today we’re looking at the Zenith Heritage pilot “Ton up” reference: 11.2430.4069. The watch’s 45mm case looks and feels purposefully large. Its 14.25mm thickness, as well as its 54mm lug end to lug end measurement, really make the watch wear like a large size pilots watch should.
Let’s take a look at the watches strap. Here we have a green, almost olive drab oily nubuck leather. Its so smooth, really something that you have to feel in person. On the inside of the strap, we have a protective layer of rubber. I love the small details like the off white colored stitching up near the lugs and at the ends of the strap. The strap is finished off by a titanium tang buckle bearing Zeniths Star insignia.
If we move onto the case of the watch, we see a very classic pilot’s looking case. Made from titanium, the case has a darker almost patina look to it. While the case does not have multiple finishes, it makes up for it with details, the number plate on the nine o’clock side, the textured chrono pushers, and the crown. The crown, too, harbors back to original large, onion style pilot crowns. Originally made this big so that pilots could wind their watches with gloved hands. In this case, the Crown is 11.8mm in diameter.
A favorite part of this watch is the case back. On the case back we have a deeply engraved image of a café racer, a sunburst display, and the Zenith coat of arms. This watch is inspired by the café racer movement of the 1920s in England. The case gives it a sporty tone, and the back story continues it.
This sporty look is perpetuated by the dial. We see a classic Bi-compax chrono layout with very large, liberally lumed, pilot style Arabic numerals. The lume on these numerals continues the theme of a vintage patina and rather than being whitish, it’s closer to a beige. The dial itself has a slate grey/bronze tone to it with that sand blasted grained look. It’s actually one of the most interesting dials I’ve seen in a while. The hands of the watch, match the case in the sense that they are plated with a black Ruthenium and have a darker look to them, but make no mistake, the watch is still VERY legible.
Now, onto the movement. This reference in particular, the 4069 is Zenith’s newest caliber. An automatic, high beat, in house, column wheel chronograph movement. The El Primero is and has been a legend for over 40 years. Originally introduced in 1969, the El Primero movement was known for accuracy, high beat rate, and, despite its high beat rate, its high power reserve. Let’s talk about beats per hour. All El Primero movements beat at 36,000 beats per hour, this means that the second hand ticks 10 times for every second. Generally, in a high beat movement, the power reserve suffers. This is not the case with the El Primero movement. Maintaining that 36,000 beat per hour rate, the El Primero still boasts a minimum of 50 hours for its power reserve.