Earlier this year Zenith launched an updated version of their iconic El Primero chronograph to wide acclaim from critics and collectors alike. We were definitely fans as well as our review can attest to. And now a new model is being added to line up with a rose gold case that adds a stronger flavour of elegance to the overall design.
Most sport watches veer away from gold as a material because it’s notoriously susceptible to scratches and several watches have received flak in recent months for using it where perhaps they shouldn’t – I’m looking at you Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight 18k. But when it comes to gold, chronographs probably have it best because tucked away in the cockpit of a car or plane you can sacrifice a little durability for some extra style without too much concern. And historically that’s been the case with the El Primero, with the G381 and G581 references both dabbling in the precious metal.
For this 2021 version, Zenith have opted for 18k rose gold for the 41mm case, the crown and pushers and the engraving on the black ceramic bezel, as well as gold-coloured hands and applied indices. Rose gold is one of the warmest tones of gold around and carries much more of a sense of refinement than other golds commonly seen in watchmaking, for example yellow gold is typically far more brash and flashy – it’s the same difference as between Aston Martin and Lamborghini if you will. The result is that the Chronomaster Sport takes on a sense of effortless style that oozes elegance.
This is a timepiece that is as happy cruising along like a grand tourer as it is chewing up the track. Especially as it uses the El Primero 3600 calibre automatic movement that was a landmark improvement to the original icon. With a 60-hour power reserve and timing capabilities down to 1/10th of a second, as indicated by the scale on the bezel, it’s a really serious chronograph movement that is sure to become an icon in its own right in the years going forward.
Other than the gold-coloured hands and indices, the dial is identical to the steel model released in January. The base is a slick white with triple, overlapping subdials in rhodium, anthracite and blue colours, which is the watch’s signature look. It’s possible that in the future we’ll see a black dial version as well to match the steel collection. Similarly, it only has a black calfskin strap with rose gold buckle, although it was the blue one that was our favourite last time.
It’s nice to see a chronograph that has really throttled it back and is willing to embrace the finer things in life, after all it’s the journey that matters so why not travel in style. Although, at £17,800 it’s almost a full £10,000 more expensive than its steel cousins, which feels a little hard to justify for what is essentially the same watch in a new material. Then again, gold is the gold standard for a reason.
Price & Specs:
Model: Zenith Chronomaster Sport Rose Gold
Case/Dial: 41mm diameter, 18k rose gold, white matte dial
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: El Primero 3600 calibre, automatic, 35 jewels, 319 parts
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Power Reserve: 60h
Functions: Hour, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock, 1/10th of a second chronograph, 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock, 60-second counter at 3 o’clock
Strap: Black calfskin leather
More details at Zenith.