Back in the 1960s, the Italian Airforce commissioned Zenith to create a series of high-precision Zenith Heritage Revival Cronometro Tipo CP-2 replica watches for the aviators of the Aeronautica Militare Italiana and the Matricola Militare. These watches have become incredibly collectible in recent years, becoming known in the community as A. Cairelli chronographs after the brand’s Rome-based distributor that delivered the watches to the Italian Air Force. The watch was named the TIPO CP-2, and was limited to just 2,500 pieces—the majority of the watches were used by military pilots and worn well into the ‘70s and ‘80s, while a few were kept in reserve by Zenith.
The clean, highly legible dial is distinctly reminiscent of the original piece, with two chronograph subdials sitting parallel to each other at 3 and 9 o’clock. The modern touches are subtle, but enough to give the revival watch its own identity; the Arabic indices and Zenith logo are bolder than the Zenith Heritage vintage copy watch’s vintage counterpart, and the case measures at a fairly substantial 43mm by 12.8mm. Inside the watch beats the El Primero Calibre 4069, with a 50 hour power reserve.
This piece, dubbed the Heritage Revival Cronometro Tipo CP-2, strikes a good balance between the cherished qualities of the iconic original and the more modern design of contemporary tastes.As such a beloved watch, the TIPO CP-2 chronograph seems an obvious candidate for a commemorative re-edition. Many prestigious watchmakers have navigated the rocky landscape of vintage re-issues, to varying levels of success.
Like the original, the watch is a limited edition and is numbered to 1,000 pieces. It has the look of a classic, solid-looking pilot’s chronograph, and will no doubt prove a very popular re-edition Zenith replica watch.