Zenith was founded in 1865 by 22-year-old watchmaker Georges Favre-Jacot. Their manufacturing was based in Le Locle Switzerland. Famously Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who was the first person to reach the South Pole in 1911 and the North Pole in 1926, wore Zenith watches on his expeditions. In 1999 Zenith was purchased by LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) joining brands like TAG and Hublot. Zenith is one of the only Swiss manufacturers to still produce their own in-house movements. Their most recognised movement is the El Primero it was released in 1969, went into production in 1975, and was re-issued in 1986.
The introduction of the El Primero Automatic as the world's first Automatic Chronograph had a run from 1969 until 1975 when it was decided by Zenith Radio Corporation owners at that time until 1978, that all mechanical movements should cease production and all production be transferred to quartz. It was decreed that everything connected with the manual and El Primero movements is destroyed but thanks to the foresight of Charles Vermot, a foreman of one of the workshops, who hid away as much as he could get his hands on over several months including the 150 presses, thus saving these incredible movements. Thanks to a new contract In 1989 Rolex introduced the Daytona Ref 16520 with the El Primero Cal. 4030 inside which had a number of alterations made by Rolex and it was kept under wraps as to who they got their movements from unsurprisingly.
Zenith presented the Chronomaster at Basel World in 1994. Its distinctive 1950s styling really elevates the watch from a sports utility to a Horological masterpiece. This has to be the ultimate El Primero. It encapsulates all the great styling and features of its ancestors The Tri-Compax which was the world’s first wristwatch chronograph with triple calendar and moon phase, created by Martel Watch co in 1943/44. First seen at Basel World 1944. As well as the Espada which was the world’s first automatic wristwatch chronograph with a triple calendar and moon phase, created by Zenith in 1971/72.
A 40mm round polished stainless steel case. The gently sloping lugs with a lug to lug length of 46.5mm and a thickness of 13mm ensures a comfortable fit on the wrist. Square pushers and signed screw-down crown run along the right side. On the left side, you find 2 indents, when pushed in they change the month and day. The stepped polished bezel holds a domed sapphire crystal. A silver dial with an outer Tachymeter scale, applied Roman numeral indices marking the hours. Between the 4 and 5 a date window. At 2 o’clock a month window, at 10 o’clock a day window. The chronograph registers are slightly recessed. At 3 o’clock a 30 minutes, at 6 o’clock a 12 hours with a moonphase, and finally at 9 o’clock the continuous 60 seconds. Elegant Dauphine’s steel hands and a finely tapered chronograph seconds hand. The text printing is expertly executed. On the reverse, a screwed-down exhibition case back with sapphire crystal. Inside an Automatic Zenith El Primero Cal. 410, 31 jewels, 36,000 beats per hour. Freshly serviced at Zenith in January 2021. The Cal. 410 movement has 354 parts and 11 complications (automatic, hours, minutes, permanent seconds, chronograph, minute counter, hour counter, date, day, month, moonphase). COSC certified chronometer. The watch comes fitted on its contemporary designed Zenith 20 mm stainless steel bracelet, alternating polished and brushed segments with a hidden signed folding clasp, push-button release.
Points of Mention
This watch is sold with its original Zenith box and Zenith paperwork, including the extras in the box as photographed. The watch comes paired on its original Zenith bracelet with a size of 18.5cm. The watch is from December 2002 and is sold in worn condition, but overall great condition as you can see. The watch returned from its Zenith service in January 2021 and comes with a guarantee for that.
It is no secret I adore Zenith, owning a few personally and having had many in the store, but the El Primero is certainly the cherry on the cake! This reference to be exact is a dream watch for me, if I only had the spare money at the moment this would be mine. Especially at this price, for a complete set and freshly serviced by Zenith, which isn't cheap! This package is perfect, I highly doubt you will find a better deal!