Zenith makes a beautiful complication atop their El Primero chronograph: the triple calendar. An elegant, simple solution. We often wonder why the complication is not more common. Audemars Piguet makes a triple calendar for their Royal Oak collection, but we understand that is no longer in their catalog. But Zenith has offered one in their for the longest time, and still do. It was re-introduced in 2014, and is a beautiful reminder that complicated is not always best. Re-presenting the Zenith El Primero 410.
A simple calendar suffices for most daily use. An annual calendar is more convenient, and a perpetual calendar even more so. As watch collectors, we do love our complications, but sometimes being practical is nice too. The added complications only translate to convenience for only that one day in the year for the annual calendar and one day a century for the perpetual calendar when the watch needs manual intervention to display the correct day, date and other calendar functions. A triple calendar needs the owner to adjust the calendar only 5 times a year, when the months only have 30 days. A little less convenient, but almost as practical. Less complicated and a lot less expensive.
The Zenith calendar is built on top of their famous high beat El Primero column wheel chronograph. The El Primero automatic chronograph, a hero of its time since its introduction in 1969 as the first automatic column wheel chronograph, has stood the test of time. It has deservedly gained a classic status since the days of the quartz revolution, having not only survived that onslaught, but thrived. The El Primero chronograph went from competently engineered, a bit nerdy movement to rock star status during the years when Thierry Nataf was CEO of Zenith (2001 to 2009). And was gently returned to its now current high perch on the chronograph world when Jean-Frédéric Dufour took helm of Zenith in 2009. Dufour went on to be CEO of Rolex in 2014.
The 410 full calendar provides indications for day, date, month, and moonphase. The dial remains rather legible despite the amount of information it needs to convey.
A great starter watch for the new collector and an excellent introduction into the world of column wheel chronographs. Entirely made within the Zenith manufacture in Le Locle, the El Primero is a key historical chronograph, once used by Rolex in their Daytona and by numerous other brands who do not make their own chronographs.
Finishing is de rigeur, and as expected for a watch built to a price point. One cannot expect the time consuming decorative finishing that one finds in the Lange Datograph, for example, But at a price of aproximately US$11,000, we think its a rather good deal.
Zenith El Primero 410 Specifications
Movement: Zenith El Primero 410, automatic
Calibre: 13 ¼ ‘‘‘ (Diameter: 30 mm)
Thickness: 6,60 mm
Frequency: 36.000 A/h (= 5 Hz)
Power-reserve: min. 50 hours
Finishing: Oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” pattern
Functions: Hours and minutes in the center, Small seconds at 9 o’clock, Date indicator between 4 and 5 o’clock
Full calendar indications (day, date, month)
Moon phase indicator
– 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock
– 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
– Central chronograph seconds hand
Case Material: Stainless steel
Diameter: 42 mm
Thickness: 12,75 mm
Crystal: Box-shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Case-back: Transparent sapphire crystal
Water-resistance: 10 ATM
Dial: Silver-toned sunray
Hour-markers: Rhodium with SuperLuminova SLN C1, faceted
Hands: Rhodium with SuperLuminova SLN C1, faceted
Brown alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining
Stainless steel buckle with triple folding clasp