Zenith Chronomaster Sport – study of the new El Primero

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Zenith released their new El Primero chronograph early this year. It comes in two dial variants black or blue and in either bracelet or fabric strap. The bracelet version is priced at US$10,000 while the fabric at US$9,500. A key differentiator is its movement which uses a high beat chronograph seconds capable of measuring 1/10th of a second.

The Case and Dial

Sized at 41mm, the stainless steel case is matched with a matte white or black dial and a black ceramic bezel. The sub-dials measure the seconds, minutes and hours and features the iconic Zenith tri-color schema.

As with the original Zenith El Primero models, the Zenith Chronomaster Sport houses the date window at the 4.30 position.

Instead of cluttering the dial or adding a marker to the rehaut, the bezel is used to measure the 1/10th of a second. Since the chronograph seconds hand takes 10 seconds to make a full turn, the bezel shows a 10 seconds display broken down further into a 1/10th markers. The design choice to use the bezel as the marker instead of a tachymeter scale still used on most chronographs is a clever one that economizes the dial space of the watch.

The dial uses applied indices for the hour markers, with the brand logo sitting above the high-beat 36 000 VpH specification. Pump pushers are used for the chronograph actuation.

The Movement

An open caseback reveals the in-house El Primero 3600 movement. The lateral clutch column wheel movement has a 60 hour power reserve and beats at 5 Hz. As mentioned earlier, the high frequency makes it possible for the watch to measure 1/10th of a second, giving it an extra technical edge over its competition.

Concluding thoughts

The sports chronograph is possibly the most sought after category after dive watches. Considering the resurfacing popularity of bracelet timepieces in the recent years, there is a distinctive shift in product development across brands to create iconic sports watches. Chopard’s Alpine Eagle, and Lange’s Odysseus are two such additions. On its own, the Zenith Chronomaster Sport is a charming product. In particular, for its high-beat ‘striking tenth’ movement.

Having the Zenith chronograph heritage and the enhanced movement also helps it stay away from the negative publicity of being ‘just a Daytona copy’. The watch is priced at US$10,000 in bracelet, priced between Omega’s Speedmasters – 3861 and 321 models.


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