Zenith El Primero 50th Anniversary Fine Watch Club Edition
Do we need to remind the public what the El Primero is? It’s a movement, a calibre, an icon, a collection, a model—almost a brand on its own. And, all at once, a paradox. A unique example in watchmaking.
El Primero is the mouthpiece of the Zenith manufacture. Initially introduced in 1969 in Baselworld’s Hall 1.0, the movement took the industry by storm for its frequency, beating at 36,000 vibrations per hour, setting a new standard few could meet. And this world premiere movement? It was housed in the reference A386, a watch with a bold dial design with three different coloured subdials and an angled date at 4:30. Back then, a completely modern take on the chronograph design, the A386 is sought after model on the vintage market. And now, with Zenith’s Revival series in precious metals to celebrate 50 years of its legendary movement, the brand has exclusively created with the Fine Watch Club a limited edition of the iconic A386—an honour bestowed solely on the Club, available only for its members.
Its mechanical precision is the core of its DNA. Capable of beating at 36,000 vibrations per hour since 1969, this calibre has been at the heart of the manufacture’s collections as well as that of other brands, such as the inescapable Cosmograph Daytona from Rolex, of which the first vibrations were powered by the El Primero.
Versatile and elegant, the El Primero united trends of its time. The incarnation of absolute precision in the 20th century, the movement entered the 21st century by becoming visible through an open dial showcasing the escapement and by surpassing itself (El Primero Defy 21 with a 1/100th of a second chronograph movement).
Today, the El Primero remains lauded for what it represents in watchmaking history as well as its achievements. The fact that it can measure up to one tenth of a second makes it precise enough for the majority of cases. Anything more than that can be, and has been, measured using electronic instruments, and the El Primero remains the modern-day de facto leader in pure mechanical chronometry.
24 pieces, and not one more
The Zenith El Primero 50th Anniversary limited edition of just 24 pieces blends different aspects of its heritage. This exclusive iteration of the capsule collection is a reminder of the popularity of this watchmaking legend still widespread among collectors. The Fine Watch Club edition is dedicated to the tight-knit circle of collectors who look for what others don’t possess.
For the first time, this model features a bronzed “tobacco” dial. The piece is paired with an alligator strap of a similar shade. For the dial, purists will appreciate the three variations of the iconic blue/grey counters, the famous “tri-compax” dial layout that made its mark on watchmaking history. The piece preserves its sports chic aesthetic with a 38mm case in stainless steel that anchors its functionality in sports.
At 4:30, Zenith kept the date window that you can find on its models dating back 50 years. Classy and elegant, the Zenith El Primero 50th Anniversary “Fine Watch Club Edition” is destined for those who want to sport 50 years of heritage without denying their sporty side.