Zenith Pilot Big Date Special
$5,400 in leather
Remember that nut Felix Baumgartner, who got his 15 minutes of fame by
to Earth from space with nothing more than a parachute? Well, he was sponsored by watchmaker Zenith. And don't you know it, the marketing stunt paid off. It certainly helped sell me on its latest riff on the Pilot line: the Big Date Special.
Do not go for the pricier metal band with this model. Stick with the throwback, stitched, aged brown-leather bracelet for a traditional chronograph look you can wear anywhere with style. Keep in mind, this manual-wind watch steps into some serious tech territory, beating away at 36,000 vibrations per hour (which is really fast). And let me tell you something, this is a nice little watch: It has an attractive face, an elegant chronograph layout and well-done brushed steel hands.
The facing and some band details could be better engineered, but overall the Pilot Big Date Special gives off a big, rugged tech-watch feel that still works with casual clothing.