Several cool and interesting timepieces were unveiled at BaselWorld 2016, and Zenith’s Heritage Pilot Cafe Racer is one of the most fascinating yet. This piece’s undeniably-engaging looks are said to be inspired by the ‘cafe racer’ biker culture that came to the fore in England in the 1960s.
The idea was that bikers would meet in one of the many transport cafes, and then – when they had enough – they’d jump on the British motorways and race to the next cafe destination. The youths that subscribed to this movement further expressed themselves by customising and tuning their motorbikes. In most cases this meant stripping away what was seen as unnecessary weight, tuning the engine, and enlarging the fuel tank, so the motorbike could hit 160km/h (100mph), and had enough fuel to get the bikers to where they needed to go.
Coming back to the Pilot Cafe Racer timepiece, Zenith decided to use its well-known Pilot watches as a base, and we can see the logic in their choice – we just can’t picture any of Zenith’s other collections pulling off the look that the Pilot Cafe Racer manages. That said, we also think the connection between what is basically a chunky pilot watch and the cafe racer movement isn’t something that will make sense to a lot of people, but we’re confident the charisma of this watch will win potential buyers over.
The timepiece features a 45mm steel case, which is given an aged look thanks to a special chrome treatment, and a bit of hand finishing. If the design of the case looks familiar, it’s because this is the same case size and design that appeared on last year’s Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Bronze (our story here).
The watch is powered by an automatic El Primero 4069 chronograph calibre, which beats at 5Hz and offers 50-hours of power reserve. Zenith has used a slate-grey dial with a two-register layout, and thankfully there’s no date window to spoil what is – in pictures at least – a very attractive dial.
The Zenith Heritage Pilot Cafe Racer is a numbered edition, and is offered on an olive green nubuck strap with a titanium pin/buckle. The international price for this piece has been pegged at US $7,100, and we’ve heard the watch will hit Middle Eastern shores by August of this year.
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