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Zenith El Primero A386 Revival

Half a century and ticking
by Chester Lau on June 8, 2019
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Zenith El Primero A386 Revival

Zenith celebrates the 50th anniversary of the El Primero by releasing a homage to the legendary high-frequency chronograph. The “revival” trilogy is a series of 3 solid gold watches in white, pink and yellow gold. To mark this anniversary, the watches are issued in 50-piece limited editions with a 50-year guarantee.

The Case and Dial

The A386 Revival watches harks back to the original 1969 tricolor models with a 38 mm case. Featuring a domed crystal, three-coloured counters, a tachymeter scale, the homage models are true to the original down to the shape of the hands and hour-markers.

The mushroom-type pushers and lugs are also identical to the original, thanks to the “reverse engineering” process adopted. In designing this vintage series, each component of an original El Primero chronograph was digitised so as to ensure accurate reproduction of its properties.

Only when looking at the back of the watch, does one get a hint that the watch is a modern homage. The initially closed caseback now fully reveals the movement. Another subtle detail is the updated logo at the crown.

The Movement

El Primero has been writing the epic Zenith saga since 1969. Also known as ‘The First’, the El Primero was renown for being the first integrated column-wheel chronograph with an automatic winding system.  The El Primero uses a ball-bearing mounted central rotor, and contains over 50 hours of power reserve. Measuring only 6.6 mm, the automatic chronograph movement was also the first ‘high-beat’ automatic chronograph with a frequency of 36,000 VpH (5 Hz).

Concluding Thoughts

The remake is a faithful and ‘rare’ representation of one of the most iconic watches of our time. Limited to only 50 pieces in each gold, it is said that the watches are all already spoken for. Apart from the novelty of the product itself, and its low production numbers, Zenith has also added a 50 years warranty for the collection, sparking another ‘world’s first’.

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