Wednesday, October 28

The new Zenith Elite Classic

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Zenith revamps the Elite collection with an all new dial and case design. The Elite Classic is available in two sizes, 36 mm and 40.5 mm, understandably the equivalent of two sizes for ladies and men.

The Case and Dial

In this article, we feature the larger 40.5 mm variant. Available in stainless steel slate dial and rose gold white dial, the watch has a typical 3 hands layout with a less common date window at 6. It uses multi-faceted appliqué indices, a sector minutes ring and an embossed sunburst pattern dial.

Zenith uses dauphine style hours and minutes hands, accompanied by tapered elongated hours indices. The hour indices are tall, multi-faceted with chamfered edges. Polished edges with multiple sides make a reflective spectacle with any motion from its wearer.  

The Elite Classic models are available in 40.5mm and 36mm case diameters, in stainless steel or rose gold. Besides the choice of dial colors, Zenith also provides various strap options to accessorize the timepiece. The 36 mm variants are also available in a diamond bezel.

The Movement

Using the Elite Calibre 670 SK, the watch keeps a thin side profile. The automatic movement beats at 28,800 VpH and has a 48 hours power reserve. The same movement is used on both sizes, which can be less desirable in a timepiece.

One movement one case, is a costly notion, but is much preferred in the world of horologerie. Since the movement was designed to fit the smaller case as well, the movement looks small on the bigger 40.5 mm variant. This is noticeable visually through the position of the date window at 6 and the large caseback spacer. Movements that were designed to fit a case would usually have lesser space around the periphery. This means that the date window should sit closer to the edge of the case. In this model however, the date window is a little too close to the center and some may find that it throws off the balance of the dial.

An open caseback reveals the decorated movement, a skeleton rotor bears the brand’s star logo and the collection name. Finishing is adequate at its price point, with machine assisted finish on the plates and bridges.

Final thoughts

We like the modern updated case of the new Elite, but have our reservations on the collection’s significance in a collection. As with Speedmaster to Omega, the El Primero will still be the first thing that comes to mind with Zenith.

Priced at CHF12900, there are other options both within the brand and beyond to consider from. Say for instance, the A384 revival. It is possibly the Zenith to get currently, unless one is only considering getting a dress watch. In terms of design, fit and function, the Elite Classic is a good-looking all rounder. It is a relatively accessible precious metal timepiece, but may not be a choice piece for haute horologerie connoisseurs.

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