El Primero: two words that spell out a legend. Zenith’s high-frequency chronograph movement has been around for over 40 years, yet still, has no problem getting watch collectors in awe. This is also thanks to Zenith themselves, who keep investing in the movement, continue to develop it, and create the most amazing watches with it.
El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton
A tourbillon is already mesmerizing, but when it runs at 36.000 Vph like the El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton, this visual spectacle has an even greater impact. Fitted with a ceramic case in matte black it ensures that the center of attention is the multi-layered dial, which is partially skeletonized. This allows for a more intimate view of the tourbillon, but also some of the inner works of the chronograph complication.
El Primero Skeleton
Even without the tourbillon, the El Primero remains a very desirable watch. At Baselworld 2016 Zenith watches homepage Replica surprised us with a skeleton version of their classic, or should we say partial skeleton? Zenith got rid of most of the dial but left the signature subdials intact. The result is a very legible dial, yet with more levels in its design making for a very attractive watch.
El Primero 410
Full calendars have been part of the El Primero legacy for quite some time. Zenith lets them live on in the 410. Slightly more modern styled than its predecessors the 410 features two windows for the day and the month, with the date tucked away between four and five o’clock. The moon phase is placed in the six o’clock subdial that serves as the minute counter for the chronograph.
Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition
Created for the 25th edition of the Tour Auto Optic 2000, a famed French classic car rally that Zenith sponsors since 2015, the Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition sports the French colors on the dial, strap, and even the chronograph pushers. With a little imagination, they even look like the piston heads of a car engine. You can also see part of the Chronomaster engine since a cutout in the dial gives you a clear view of the silicon escape wheel and lever.
El Primero 36’000 VPH
Technical prowess does not always have to be shown off in a distinct visual spectacle. Sometimes you want to keep it a private pleasure, like with the understated El Primero 36’000 VPH. With its discreet 42mm case and black dial, it will require a fellow connoisseur to recognize the horological powerhouse you are wearing. This taps directly into the heritage of the Zenith El Primero, which throughout its existence has always been the chronograph of choice for people in the know.
The third basic problem in repeaters is that you have to have some way of controlling how fast the gongs are struck – that is certainly, you have to control the tempo. There are several different ways of doing this. Traditionally, watchmakers used an anchor, similar to the anchor escapement. The system works properly and it really is very reliable, but it also produces a distinct buzzing noise. Another solution is the so-called “fly” regulator. In this system, a rotor attached to the chiming gear train spins as the chimes are struck. As it turns, centrifugal force causes two arms to extend, which make contact together with the walls of the rotor housing. The friction created slows the speed of chiming. The system makes a lot less noise than the anchor system, but the speed of chiming can vary over time thanks to deterioration of the oils used to lubricate the rotor. Also, the system is much harder to adjust than the anchor system. For that reason, and also because of its long use of its own legacy designs (AP is among the very few companies that didn’t stop making repeaters during the quartz crisis), Audemars Piguet has generally used the anchor system.