PRE-BASEL 2018: Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback

 

Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback

“The Cairelli”

The Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback actually has a long history, dating back to the 1960’s and a Zenith watch model affectionatlly known as “The Cairelli” (pictured above) by collectors. After WWII, the rise of modern aviation (both military and non-military) was on and several military forces had expressed a need for chronograph timepieces. In the case of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana or Italian Air Force, this led to the creation of the Zenith Cronometro Tipo CP-2. At the time, the official retailer of the Italian Army was A. Cairelli, Roma and they ordered approximately 2,500 of the timepieces during the 1960’s. It was easy to recognize these watches as they were made at a 43mm case size. At the time, this was considered absolutely huge when most men were wearing watches that were in the 30mm to, maybe, the 38mm size (with 38mm being considered quite large). The short version of the backstory here is that the Italian military did not completely honor their commitment to Cairelli and this left them with a large unsold inventory of these watches. This inventory was then later sold to the general public and can be identified by the “Cronometro Tipo CP-2 A. Cairelli-Roma” inscription on the caseback.

Swiss Made
43mm case diameter
12.8mm case thickness
Bronze alloy with steel back or DLC coated age steel
Bi-directional rotating bezel
Sapphire crystal with anti-reflective (AR) coating front/back
100m water resistance
El Primero 405B in-house automatic
Column wheel chronograph w/flyback complication
36,000 Vibrations Per Hour (VPH) / 5Hz
31 jewels
50 hours minimum power reserve
No date functionality
254 individual components
Custom bi-directional rotor with Côtes de Genève decoration
Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with flyback function
Green or brown oily nubuck leather strap w/protective rubber lining
Titanium full tang buckle

Cost: CHF 7,900 (~$8,400.00)

Reference: 11.2240.405/21.C773

“Aged Stainless Steel”

 

The following video comes from the world of gunsmithing. For those of you that have more of a DIY or “Do It Yourself” bent in your watch collecting, it shows you how, using coffee grounds of all things, how you can age the stainless steel components (case, crown, function pushers, strap buckles, etc.) of your own watch and achieve a very unique look that is not originally available or supplier by the brand. As a side note, if any of you attempt this, please get in touch with us and let us know. We would love to see the results of your work!

how to age stainless steel with coffee grounds – edsgunsmithing

Reference: 29.2240.405/18.C801

Both reference models of the Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback feature an antique style “grained” dial.

El Primero 405B Flyback Chronograph

The El Primero 405B Flyback Chronograph movement that is used in the Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback is a continuation of the now “legendary” El Primero base movement. It features the following specifications:

El Primero 405B in-house automatic
Column wheel chronograph w/flyback complication
36,000 Vibrations Per Hour (VPH) / 5Hz
31 jewels
50 hours minimum power reserve
No date functionality
254 individual components
Custom bi-directional rotor with Côtes de Genève decoration
Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with flyback function

The Column Wheel Chronograph

The Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback El Primero 405B movement uses a column wheel chronograph. This is an important distinction as the column wheel chronograph is generally a more expensive movement complication as compared to the cam-lever style that is more common nowadays and is also considered by many in the horological community to be a more “true” or traditional from of watch making. If you are new to watch collecting or are not familiar with the topic, we have put together a few resources for you below.

Our friends at TheWatches.tv have a great series of videos on the chronograph complication. In this particular one, the chronograph is covered in more general terms, but the column wheel functionality (as used in the Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback) is quickly covered.

Chronograph Saga 2 – How It Works

In this video from our friends at Perth Watch, they take a much more detailed look at a the column wheel chronograph vs. the cam-lever chronograph. The cam-lever is what you will see in use more frequently and especially in most budget or lower cost timepieces. A bit longer at 10 minutes. But, this is a topic that is very important to understand for watch collectors.

Which is Better? Column Wheel vs Cam-Lever Actuated Chronographs – Perth WAtch #90

Our friends at Tick Tock Talk (T3) have produced a great video that takes you through the various types of chronograph engagements and covers aspects in addition to the column wheel that we don’t have enough time to go through in this article. Very much worth a viewing. Especially for those that are interested in what movements.

Types of Chronograph Engagement, Tick Tock Talk (T3) Episode 14

Resources For The Brand And The Watch

If you are new to watch collection and not necessarily familiar with the Zenith brand (or even if you are familiar with them), Zenith has put out a great two (2) minute or so video that walks you through their manufacture and is certainly worth the time to view it.

Zenith Watches – The legendary Manufacture

Our friends at MR PORTER have put together a great short video on “How A Zenith Watch Is Made”. Certainly worth a viewing if you are new to Zenith or know the brand and would like to learn a little more.

How A Zenith Watch Is Made

Zennith put out a very short (less than a minute) promotional video for the Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback. While it is mainly for sales/marketing purposes, it does show off in high-def (HD) many aspects of this beautiful timepiece.

Pilot Collection – "Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback Bronze" by Zenith

If you are unfamiliar with the flyback chronograph (a staple in the more traditional pilot style timepieces), our friends at TheWatches.tv have put together a great short video on this functionality and is certainly worth a few minutes to watch.

Chronograph Saga 3 – The Flyback

For those of you that REALLY want to “go down the rabbit hole”, our friends at TheWatches.tv have a video that you absolutely MUST watch. In it, they have partnered with master watchmaker Peter Speake-Marin (aka The Naked Watchmaker). In this almost 23 minute video, he “deconstructs” a slightly different version of the Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2. Basically, he takes the watch movement apart and breaks down everything you need to know about the parts and functionality of the Zenith movement. An absolutely fantastic viewing opportunity that provides a tremendous learning situation for those with a more technical bent to horology.

Don't Do This at Home – Zenith Cronometro Tipo CP2 El Primero

Cite this article as: TAW Staff, "PRE-BASEL 2018: Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback," on Talk About Watches, March 1, 2018, https://talkaboutwatches.com/pre-basel-2018-zenith-pilot-cronometro-tipo-cp-2-flyback/.

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About TAW Staff

The Talk About Watches staff is made up of a diverse group of dedicated watch collectors and enthusiasts with a wide ranging set of skills and interests in horology. They work hard with both Tim and Michael to bring you the most informative and in-depth information from within the watch industry and always attempt to embody the spirit of "Entertain ~ Educate ~ Inform".

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2 Comments on "PRE-BASEL 2018: Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback"

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Donald Shickle
Guest

Some extremely interesting and informative videos.
So glad I do not have to reassemble it.

Michael Davis
Admin

Donald: Thanks for the note and letting us know that you enjoyed the post. These take a tremendous amount of work and effort to put together. So, it’s always great to hear that they are enjoyed and bring value to someone. I would not mind putting it back together though. If I had the skill to “deconstruct” it and then “re-construct” it, I’d be pretty happy! LOL! Thanks again!

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