The 50th anniversary of the Zenith El Primero makes for a splendid alternative for some justified tributes, homages or, as Zenith apparently likes to name them, revivals. Behold three limited-edition references with the Zenith El Primero A386 Revival, launched as a part of the 50th-anniversary celebration of one of many best computerized chronograph wristwatches ever made. Solely in 18okay gold and restricted to 50 items, every comes with a 50-year guarantee.
Positive, a complete of 150 items, every of them clad in — and priced for — totally different alloys of stable gold, can fairly have a preposterous guarantee like that; however it positive is a enjoyable factor to the “revival” of the first-ever El Primero mannequin from 1969. The true head-scratcher right here is when, if in any respect, are we going to see some non-limited, competitively priced metal homages to the unique ~1969 variations of the El Primero – as I’m positive we now have loads of followers lining up all over the world for Zenith and a tribute to its unique 5 Hertz chronograph.
The A386 oozes ’70s fashion — sure, everyone knows it debuted in 1969, however the design, outlined by its flat, angular lugs, unobstructed crown and piston-pushers, domed crystal, 38mm diameter and unashamed dashes of colour may be very a lot a case research in ’70s wristwatch aesthetics. As I mentioned, this case research is, slightly inexplicably, completely out there in 18okay white gold, 18okay rose gold and 18okay yellow gold. And aside from some unusual case supplier-related limitations, I can’t consider a stable motive why this should have been essential. The El Primero has a worldwide and in depth fan base, so if you wish to mess with their minds and make them really feel nugatory, launching nothing greater than an all-gold restricted version for $19,900 is a tried and confirmed approach of doing that. I’ve hopes for a stainless-steel model to return later within the 12 months, although I can’t right now see why splitting these launches can be essential. These three references (instances 50 items for a complete of 150 watches) can be picked up by die-hard collectors in a jiffy, anyway — by collectors, and everybody who’s had sufficient of ready for the privilege of shelling out the identical quantity for a metal Daytona.
Earlier than we get to specs, I ought to add that we now have not needed to do with out neat, available, and comparatively rather more reasonably priced homages to the unique: the El Primero Authentic 1969 — that, regardless of its title, has been in manufacturing for years as a contemporary re-edition of one of many unique references — is considered one of my all-time favourite watches; it’s, certainly, very excessive on my Checklist of Should-Get Watches. You might learn my assessment of that metal model right here and watch my video assessment right here (now at over 128,000 views, a determine that speaks volumes in regards to the recognition of this piece). Two vital issues to notice: First, the case of the Authentic 1969 is totally different from the angular A386 — dangerous information in case you’re a purist and excellent news in case you desire curves and an arguably superior match across the wrist. Second, since my assessment, Zenith has carried out a minuscule replace to the Authentic 1969: it now has the three sub-dials overlapping within the appropriate order. On the reference that I reviewed, it had the 6 o’clock register overlapping the opposite two, whereas the reference that’s out there in the present day (03.2150.400/69.C713) has them within the appropriate order. Okay, again to the Zenith El Primero A386 Revival.
With its lengthy lugs, the A386 wears significantly bigger than its 38mm diameter would recommend, a feat additional enforced by the grandiose proportions of its dial components. In yellow gold, it appears as valuable because it ought to for such a notable anniversary — not explaining the shortage of a metal model, however the A386 actually appears unbelievable on this timeless materials. The 18kt white gold model is the blandest of all of them, whereas the rose gold provides a recent contact.
The motion inside is a no-thrills El Primero 400 with 278 parts, apparently precisely the identical as will be present in different, rather more widespread iterations within the assortment. A gold winding rotor or another neat element would have been a becoming celebration of the motion, I believed. Nonetheless, it runs at 5 Hertz, has an influence reserve of 50 hours, boasts the immediately recognizable El Primero structure with the horizontal clutch (that bigger and smaller brass wheel just below the Zenith star on the picture above) and column wheel. The horizontal clutch will entail a glitchy begin to the chronograph seconds because the horizontally aligned wheels are pressed collectively — one thing I defined in better element within the assessment I linked to above.
The El Primero is a unbelievable caliber that deserves detailed analysis — maybe a full weekend devoted to studying up on it — and positively an important many extra phrases than we will have right here about it. My favourite telltale indicators of its exceptional engineering are all of the totally different variations which have come to exist: We now have seen tourbillons, alarms, even minute repeaters — as seen above — all based mostly on the El Primero, with its structure intact inside. Oh, and it powered the Rolex Daytona because the Caliber 4030, albeit dumbed right down to four Hertz.
The Zenith El Primero A386 Revival makes for an honest, likable tribute to the unique, even when its self-imposed limitation in availability will possible upset collectors and followers of the model — one thing simply rectified by a non-limited metal model, ought to that be launched. Out there in 18okay white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold, the Zenith El Primero A386 Revival is restricted to 50 items in every variation and is priced at 19,900 CHF. You may scout the official web site for extra El Primero watches right here.