Frank sans C Video

IWC, Zenith and Hamilton: three watches on the winner’s podium

This week's video is a nod to the Olympic Games as it focuses on three watches made from the same three alloys as the winners' medals: IWC takes the gold, Zenith the silver and Hamilton the bronze.

By Nicolas Yvon
Three instruments are on the podium: IWC’s Portugieser Perpetual Calendar, Zenith’s Pilot Type 20 Chronograph and Hamilton’s Khaki Field. Gold, silver or bronze – chose your own watch medal.

Bronze medal
HAMILTON Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze: one of the most emblematic military-inspired watch

Founded in 1892 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Hamilton has a shared history with the United States of America. Indeed, the brand’s watches were developed at the same time as railroads, and were worn by aviation pioneers as well as soldiers. 
And as it happened, every G.I wore Hamilton’s Khaki during the 1945 landing – which explains the emblematic dimension of the instrument.

Hamilton a choisi l'une de ses montres Khaki Field pour sa première pièce en bronze
The Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze (€745) is Hamilton’s first bronze watch.

The simplest version of the watch – with its three central hands – probably is the most stunning one.

Hamilton’s first bronze watch

Well, as it turns out, it is precisely the model chosen by Hamilton to create the house’s first bronze watch.
We won’t get into the attributes of bronze and why it is interesting for vintage models here. You will find all you need to know and the links in our article on the subject.

Les montres Khaki Field Mechanical ont une double graduation horaire d'inspiration militaire
Just like other Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical watches, this edition comes with a military-inspired double hour scale.

The size of the Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze is relatively moderate for a man’s watch with its 38 mm diameter. But the case used to be oversized in the 1940s back when the first models were created.

Khaki Field watches: between vintage military style and modern mechanical calibre

Video presenting the Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze watch

This edition integrates a hand-wound H-50 calibre with a comfortable 80-hour power reserve. 
This last generation movement was exclusively developed by Hamilton. Here, it powers a black dial featuring a double hour scale – a military legacy. And the model as a whole contrasts with the stylized hands and triangular markers coated with a luminescent beige material. This chromatic particularity asserts the undeniably retro style of the watch. And a brown leather NATO strap reinforces it even more.

Our Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical Bronze technical data sheet


Silver medal
ZENITH’s Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver: a silver 925 case and a dial inspired by an aircraft’s fuselage.

The Pilot Type 20 was inspired by instruments designed by Zenith during the golden age of aviation. The model thus sports signature elements from pilot watches made during the first half of the 20th century.

Les montres Pilot Type 20 sont se reconnaissent à leur couronne oignon et leurs aiguilles de style cathédrale
Zenith’s silver chronograph (€9,700) includes an onion-shaped crown and cathedral hands – the characteristic features of the Pilot Type 20 models.

Don’t forget that Zenith was worn by aviation pioneers. And thus took part in the conquest of the sky alongside aviation buffs. Just like, Louis Blériot with his flight above the Channel from Calais to Dover in 1909.

A silver 925 limited edition issued in only 250 pieces

To pay tribute to the past, the manufacture located in Le Locle equipped its Pilot Type 20 watches with an oversized onion-shaped crown, large stylized Arabic numerals and big cathedral hands. 
These details characterize the Pilot Type 20 silver Chronograph model which 45 mm diameter case is made of silver 925. This precious alloy is also called “sterling silver”. 
The case is water resistant up to 100 metres and protects a rather original dial, and is thus in tune with the general inspiration of the line. And for a good reason! Its satin-brushed surface is irregular and riveted to remind of an aircraft’s fuselage.

Le modèle Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver possède un cadran brossé et riveté comme les carlingues d'avion
The Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver channels the spirit of an aircraft’s fuselage with its satin-brushed and riveted steel dial.

This retro dial inspired by the industrial era is adorned with white Superluminova hands and indices to offer an optimal luminosity in every situation. Of course, this chronograph is powered by an El Primero calibre. This “high-frequency” movement works at 36,000 vibrations per hour, or 5 Hz escapement, just like the original Zenith in 1969.

What about the back of the Zenith watch? It hides a very nice surprise!

Combined with a brown leather strap decorated with riveted details, the case back of the Pilot Type 20 Silver chronograph is engraved with the “Zenith Flying Instrument” logo. And it is also supposed to be adorned with a representation of Louis Blériot. “Supposed to” because it is nowhere to be seen on the model featured on the set of Frank sans C. It was indeed replaced by… a motorbike. An odd detail which could be explained by a confusion with a “Ton up” model, when the watch was assembled. A collection which reminds of the universe of “Café Racer” bikers.
Could Frank sans C has had – unknowingly – a unique piece in his hands?

Our Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Silver watch technical data sheet

Gold medal
IWC’s Portuguieser Perpetual Calendar 42: the hot red gold classical icon of the Schaffhausen manufacture

The Perpetual Calendar system is undoubtedly one of IWC’s signature complications.

La Portugaise est l'une des montres les plus iconiques de la manufacture IWC qui la propose ici en version or or rouge à calendrier perpétuel
This IWC Portuguieser Perpetual Calendar 42 (€32,350) features a red gold case, a type of rose gold which intense colour is due to the higher concentration of copper in the precious alloy.

This clever system is very complicated and collectors know it well. Which is why it is  included in only a limited number of watches and their price is quite high. 
The perpetual calendar displays the day, the month, the year and leap years and won’t need to be manually changed before 2100. Why 2100 specifically? Because, on that year, there will be a small change in the Gregorian calendar.

A perpetual display of the moon phases on IWC’s Perpetual Calendar

The Schaffhausen manufacture, located in the German-speaking side of Switzerland, made the system even more complicated as it added to this calendar mechanism another complication with its “perpetual” display of moon phases.

The Perpetual Calendar explained by IWC

There are mainly two ways to display moon phases on a watch. Firstly, the usual system needs to be adjusted by a day approximately every two years and half. Then, there is the “astronomic” system, which is rarer, but only needs adjustments once every 122 years.
Yet, IWC achieved even better with its system as it only deviates from the actual moon phases by one day after 577.5 years! 

A watch which offers both elegance and readability

When you think about the complexity and the high number of components of a mechanical movement integrating these two complications, you might expect to see an instrument with a large diameter and a dial including a lot of information… But it is the exact opposite on the Portuguieser Perpetual Calendar 42!

IWC Portugaise Calendrier Perpétuel 42
The red gold Portuguieser Perpetual Calendar 42 edition reveals a well-made IWC automatic calibre through the case back.

The manufacture succeeded in designing a very elegant model, just like this 18-carat red gold version. The diameter of the case is “only” 42 mm, which is not a lot for a watch including a perpetual calendar. The dial is silver with a simple design and the placement of the different information offers a nice balance to the whole. They are displayed on three subdials with the date at 3 o’clock, the months and the moon phases at 6 o’clock and the leap years at 9 o’clock.

And sapphire glass on the case back offers a glimpse of the wheels of a well-made calibre. It is the Pellaton automatic, self-winding IWC 82650 movement, which skeletonized oscillating weight sports the manufacture’s seal “Probus Scafusia”. 
The model comes with a stunning alligator leather strap made by the craftspeople at the Santoni house. This renowned Italian bootmaker has been IWC’s partner for 10 years.

Our Portuguieser Perpetual Calendar 42 technical data sheet


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