We’re used to seeing archival designs come to life by now, whether it’s the re-issue of a collector’s classic or some quirky, retro-inspired throwback. But what about the revival of a design that never actually came to fruition? That’s the story behind Zenith’s latest re-issue, the Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition.
The story goes that among the odds and ends left by watchmaker Charles Vermont during the quartz crisis, Zenith found an unassuming box. Inside it were a number of dials, including the El Primero dial that went on to define the sporty look of the 1969 icon. More interestingly though, was one with the same layout in different shades of blue.
There’s a good chance the blue-shaded number was never really meant for a specific watch, that Vermont was using them to see what worked best. Whether that’s the case or not, it’s a cool look for the racing chronograph – one that now, Zenith has brought it back from the dustbin of watchmaking history in an exact reproduction of the first A386.
As with the previous Zenith revival piece (more on that here), the Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition uses blueprints to match the 1969 watch perfectly, from the 38mm stainless steel case to the pump-style pushers. In fact, this is the final version of the A386 available with the original “Revival” case.
Even the movement inside it more or less the same as the original version. The El Primero column-wheel chronograph has been used widely across the watch world since inception, so why change a winning formula.
While the Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition is as faithful a re-issue as is possible, it’s also, somewhat counterintuitively, a brand new watch, meaning I’m not sure quite where it lands: archival revival or simply retro-inspired. That doesn’t really matter though. It’s a lovely version of an iconic watch and that’s more than enough.
Price & Specs:
Models: Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition
Case/Dial: 38mm diameter x 12.6mm height, stainless steel
Water Resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Calibre El Primero 400, automatic
Power Reserve: 50h
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Functions: Hours and minutes in the centre, small seconds at 9 o’clock, chronograph: central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, tachymetric scale, date indication at 4:30
Strap: Blue alligator leather with protective rubber lining, stainless steel pin buckle
More details at Zenith.