At Baselworld 2016, I had a sneak peak at new limited edition Zenith Heritage Cronometro Tipo CP-2 replica watches that is based on a set of 2,500 timepieces Zenith made for the Italian military via a local distributor known as A. Cairelli in the 1960s. This particular style of military chronograph pilot watch was a design not unique to Zenith, and in recent years a similar model produced by Heuer – Leonidas from the same era has been on a lot of people’s minds. I’ll get to that in a moment.
While the vintage-reissue watch trend is thankfully slowing down a bit, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still a lot of good lessons from the past that can be used to create delights for watch collectors today. With this 1,000-piece limited edition, solid value, and good looks, I think the Zenith Heritage Cronometro Tipo CP-2 is going to be quite popular.
The Heuer watch I am referring to is known as the Heuer Bundeswehr 1550SG Flyback Chronograph, and I’ve seen them in various conditions around the world. There are a number of variations of this collection of watches out there, and their prices can vary from a few thousand to almost $10,000 depending on the condition and rarity. In addition to offering sober good looks, one of the reasons these military-style pilot watches are popular is their size. Unlike many vintage watches which wear quite small for today’s tastes, the original Cronometro Tipo CP-2 as well as the Heuer – Leonidas Bundeswehr had cases which are 43mm wide, with a nice-looking rotating timing bezel. That means this set of watches is among the few vintage sport watches that wear like modern watches.
The new limited edition Zenith Heritage Cronometro Tipo CP-2 is also 43mm wide, 12.85mm thick and comes in a polished steel case with a legible, sober-looking vintage pilot watch dial complete with bi-compax 30-minute chronograph. The bezel insert looks to be aluminum, and over the dial is an AR-coated sapphire crystal. There aren’t too many watches that look like this sold today, but you can of course get some out there from brands such as Sinn, Dodane, etc. Zenith adds its customary level of refinement and some flair, making this one of my top choices out there. The dial design is also very elegant. I sort of see this as a “budget” Breguet Type XXI given the overall feeling on the stainless steel Zenith fake watches as well as the design of the numerals. Both the watches have a similar design theme heritage.