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Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar Watch Review

Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar

When reflecting on the Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar, I find it strange that a few years ago if you’d have told me that Zenith would be one of the most consistently impressive brands of 2023 and 2024, I’d have wondered who dropped a Hublot on your head. As late as 2019, they didn’t seem like a watchmaker with a direction. And yet, in the wake of the Chronomaster Sport’s success, they seem to be going from strength to strength, almost frustratingly so.

Their latest hit’s been the re-launched Pilots’ collection, a solid range tapping into Zenith’s heritage of being the only brand that can actually put the word ‘pilot’ on their dial. It’s true; look it up. But for my money, the 2024 release that caught my eye the most has been the Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar. Sure, it doesn’t have the sporty cache of the also new titanium Chronomaster Sport, but as a throwback to early El Primero references, it’s a beauty.

Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar
Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar

A triple calendar, in case you didn’t catch our own breakdown of the various calendar functions, is also known as a complete calendar and shows day, date, month and, often but not necessarily, moon phase. Just to clear something up, no calendar needs a moon phase indicator, it’s just synonymous thanks to Patek Philippe. A complete calendar doesn’t adjust for months or leap years, so it’s the simplest and therefore most accessible calendar function.

Simplest of course doesn’t mean simple; it’s still a lot of indicators, enough that combining it with a chronograph is a design task I’d not relish taking on. And yet, the Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar manages it with more confidence than an adult movie star in a sauna. In fact, it’s impressive just how true to the classic Chronomaster layout the watch has kept, maintaining the three subdials and that signature four (ish) o’clock date window.

Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar

Here, it’s just a case of nestling the day above the running seconds subdial at nine o’clock and the month above the 60-second chronograph counter at three o’clock. The white backdrops against the white main dial makes for a very subtle pair of indications, as is the moon phase integrated into the 60-minute counter at six o’clock – although I’m not a huge fan of the mix of blue and black there. You can still have a starry black sky and get the lunar message across.

The only downside to the whole triple calendar layout is that the watch no longer has the El Primero’s famous overlapping subdials. They’re kept completely separate which for me loses some of the charm of the original – and the Original collection, at that. Perhaps the placement of the day and month discs meant that the subdials had to be downsized, which would make sense, but it’s still a shame.

Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar
Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar

Everything else about the watch is the throwback El Primero 1/10th chronograph we know and love, here in a classic high-contrast panda colourway, shorthand for a certain era of racing watches. The recessed outer track, running through all 100 1/10th seconds in one chronograph rotation is a fantastic touch, adding some multi-layer architecture to the dial and amping up that black-and-white colour scheme. The stripped back tachymeter on the outer edge on the other hand is subtle enough to be missed at a glance.

As for the chronograph itself, seeing one rotating every ten seconds never gets old. It’s an incredibly speedy hand built for split-second accuracy. Let’s be honest though, most of us will just have fun hitting go and watching it run. If the pushers didn’t feel so solid, I’d be worried about wearing it out. As it is, the Triple Calendar joins the Chronomaster Sport Titanium on the podium of exceptionally satisfying to use chronographs.

Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar

On the wrist, its vintage feel is self-evident. The combination of bezel-less case and domed crystal is retro perfection and makes sure you can see everything clearly and cleanly, while the gently curving lugs and mushroom pushers have been retained from the early days of the El Primero. I mean, it’s not like you need to change much. Those vintage Zenith racing watches are grail pieces for many a collector for good reason. The 38mm diameter is pitch perfect and while it might mean some of the indicators will need reading glasses, it ensures a much better feel on the wrist – for those of us who prefer smaller sizes, at least.

Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar

Along with the high contrast panda version we have here, there are also two other versions of the new Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar. Five if you include strap options, which I do not. You have an almost reverse panda with a slate grey dial instead of black, which is incredibly handsome, and the boutique edition is much the same, but in green. I’m not sure when green became the de facto colour for boutique only releases, but I’d like to see something a little more original. It’s not bad of course, it’s a lovely shade, just less not interesting enough to drive me to seek out my nearest Zenith branded store.

Part tribute to a legendary reference, part showcase for the latest generation of El Primero movements – with its 60-hour power reserve, in case you were wondering (though likely not long with that chronograph running) – the Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar is yet another foot put right in an apparently unending march of solid modern Zenith watches. I love it.

Price and Specs:

Model: Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar
Case: 38mm diameter, stainless steel
Dial: Silver with black subdials
Water resistance: 50m (5 bar)
Movement: Zenith calibre El Primero 3610, automatic
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Power reserve: 60h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph, complete calendar, moonphase, power reserve
Strap: Leather or stainless steel bracelet
Price: £12,100 (strap) or £12,500 (bracelet)

More details at Zenith.

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.