< Zenith >
Presenting an open heart, the El Primero Chronomaster 1969 is much more than just pure aesthetics
Zenith’s El Primero Chronomaster 1969 looks vibrant with colour. Its silver-framed circles offering a view within, its gold coloured wheels turning, its red rubies and three blued screws holding the silver inner bezel ring, circles swirling et al. It’s no less than a divine complexity. The blued screws in particular add a visual link with the 30 minute counter’s deep azure hue.
There is more to it- the fascinating motion of the gear trains, not usually visible at a glance can be clearly viewed through the anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass. It is a magical view!
This new timepiece is pure Zenith. For the first time, the historical colours of the first El Primero Chronograph combine with the emblematic dial opening, to offer a glimpse of the perfectly synchronised beating heart and the magic of the wheels in motion. Indeed, the two chronograph counters – 30-minute at 3 o’clock, 12-hour at 6 o’clock – borrow the midnight blue and anthracite grey of the 1969 model. Again with aesthetics in mind, the master watchmakers have gone as far as to rethink the movement construction edge of the movement.
The colours of the sub dials, midnight blue for the 30-minute counter and anthracite for the 12 hour, are those used in the original 1969 El Primero model and stand out against the gentle tones of the silver sunray dial. The 30-minute counter sits at 3 o’clock and the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock. The anthracite chapter ring provides a frame for the painting within. The slender red sweeping chronograph hand with its Zenith star and the smaller silver hands of the sub dials with their red detailing, all add to the colourful palette.
The broad hours and minute hands are grey with a central rib, half black, half white, rhodium with Super Luminova SLN C1, faceted and echo the five minute integers on the chapter ring which, ingot like, are unaccompanied by any numbering. The tachymeter numbering occupies the space between the chapter ring and the bezel. Numbering on the sub dials is simple and white, highlighting against its dark backgrounds. The brand’s name and the Zenith star occupy the small space between twelve and two, the star perfectly placed above the midnight blue sub dial.
A simple round bezel with smooth and graceful lugs, provide a perfect frame for the dial, not detracting in any way from its colourful display but blending tonally with the principle silver of the face, throwing the colourful elements into sharp relief.
The crown set conventionally at 3 o’clock bears the Zenith crown and set one on each side are the vintage styled push buttons for the chronograph. The beautifully finished case is water resistant to 100 mts. The sapphire crystal case back permits further viewing of the movement which is beautifully embellished with traditional Swiss finishing techniques; Côtes de Genève, perlage and anglage.
This is a watch that reflects both the watchmaker’s rich heritage and a shift to respectable watchmaking in recent years. As with the original 1969 El Primero model, the 30-minute and 12- hour counters at 3 and 6 o’clock respectively feature the same colours as the original 1969 El Primero model.
This watch has a new El Primero movement; the Calibre 4061, beating at 36,000 vph. The movement has been aligned so that the aperture rests at 10 o’clock. To achieve this, the whole of the movement has been restructured and strategically relocated. This new movement has 31 jewels, comprises 282 parts and affords a minimum power reserve of 50 hours.
This is a Zenith ‘first’ — a partial cut-away of the dial through the beating heart of the movement can be seen. This open-heart construction reveals the hard work of Zenith movement design engineers and watchmakers who redesigned the movement’s escapement to sit at 10 o’clock.
The timepiece comes presented on a rubber-lined alligator strap with either pin buckle or optional triple folding clasp.