Back in 1969 the world’s finest chronograph movement was born: the El Primero. As the astute can probably work out, that means that this year Zenith’s flagship calibre is marking its 50th anniversary. However, rather than the usually proscribed limited edition, Zenith is instead celebrating in the most authentic way possible: the El Primero A384 Revival.
This isn’t just a re-issue of the seminal 1969 model, the watch that housed the world’s first automatic chronograph. This is a millimetre-accurate recreation of the original, with all the original components reproduced from digitised schematics.
This isn’t Zenith’s first revival piece; back in March they showed off a trio of precious metal editions, the A386 Revival, produced as a very, very limited set. The only problem however is that a sports watch should generally be made in steel, something which the A384 rectifies.
In fact, there are only two changes here between the new piece and the 1969 model. The first is that Zenith has opted for sapphire crystal instead of the original acrylic – a fair enough change – and an exhibition caseback, all the better to celebrate the famous movement.
Other than that, this is all original, from the faceted 37mm case, the progenitor of the current El Primero line, to the black and white lacquered three-eyed panda dial. The result is a watch that embodies the kind of retro cool so many watchmakers are raiding their archives for.
Unlike the triplet of A386 Revival limited editions released in Basel however, the production of this steel version won’t be restricted. Not only is it a seriously cool tribute to one of the most iconic watches ever made, it’s an attainable piece of horological history.
Price & Specs:
Model Name: Zenith El Primero A386 Only Watch
Case/Dial: 38mm diameter x 12.60mm thickness, 18K white gold, unique engraving on the caseback
Water Resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: In-house cal. El Primero 400, automatic
Power Reserve: 50h
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph, date
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining and special turquoise stitchings
Price: Est. EUR 18,000 – 27,000
More details at Only Watch’s website.