Watch Wednesday: A Retro Timepiece Inspired By The Ton-Up Culture

A classy watch you can wear for the Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride

Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up Watch

In our series of Watch Wednesday, we have covered several sporty watches and now it’s time for a classic. The Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up is inspired by the cafe racer culture and that’s how it gets its name. Ton-Up is an important objective of cafe racers or ton-up boys of the sixties: to hit the ton or 100 miles per hour (160kmph) top speed on their stripped-down machines. Pilot signifies the Swiss watchmaker’s Pilot collection. 

Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up Watch

The vintage look comes courtesy a special ageing process that gives the stainless steel case a uniform patina finish. With a case thickness of 14.25mm, the slim Pilot Ton-up timepiece can be worn at formal occasions as a dress watch. Its unique stainless steel crown piece and buttons on the side feature a ribbed finish and the same patina finish as the case. 

Also read: Watch Wednesday: A Norton You Can Wear On Your Wrist 

Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up Watch

A unique feature that will have you taking the watch off to show off to you pals is the engraved caseback. It has an image of a cafe racer with a Zenith shield. The lightweight titanium back case too comes with a patina finish and looks like a vintage minted coin. 

Also read: Watch Wednesday: A Watch That Worships One Man’s Obsession With Speed


Fun Fact: Zenith Watches sponsors The Distinguished  Gentleman’s Ride (DGR), an organisation that has raised over 13 million in support of cancer and men’s health issues. To celebrate their association, they made six special watches in 2017, of which watch number one was auctioned at an event in Milan. These special watches feature the DGR etched on its dial, their logo on a special brown leather strap and instead of the cafe racer on the case back, you have the DGR logo.

Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up Watch



Being a Pilot watch, it has a large 45mm diameter case. The dial comes in a slate grey tone with a grainy etched finish and large Arabic numbers in Super-LumiNova material. The sub-dials look subdued with small lettering and tiny dial with the LumiNova treatment at the tip. It features a special green oily nubuck leather with a rubber lining to protect it from sweat and moisture. 

Also read: Watch Wednesday: Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari 

Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up Watch

The watch is powered by Zenith’s El Primero caliber 400B movement that powers all of its watches. It has a power reserve of 50 hours. 

If you are looking for a dress watch with a vintage finish but modern internals, the Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-Up is a great pick. It also has a story to tell and should make for a great late-night conversation starter. The conversation comes at a price though with the Zenith Heritage Pilot Ton-up costing a cool Rs 6.16 lakh.

Images courtesy Ethos Watches

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