March 19, 2019 3 min read

The legendary El Primero high-frequency chronograph celebrates half a century of avant-garde and precision. In tribute to its legendary destiny, Zenith is offering aficionados an anniversary boxed set containing three chronographs with emblematic tri-colour counters.

A reissue faithful to the first El Primero model of 1969; a Chronomaster El Primero with optimized movement; and a Defy El Primero 21 to 1/100th of a second: the 50-piece limited-edition trilogy ‘conjugates’ high frequency in several tenses.
Past, present and future. El Primero has been flowing through the veins of Zenith for 50 years. The history of this high-frequency star, born in 1969, continues today and tomorrow, with the iconic Chronomaster El Primero and the futuristic Defy.

Presented in a box mingling technology with tradition, this collector’s trio with ‘signature’ counters panders to every desire: vintage, classic or modern. Meanwhile, a still-empty fourth cushion sits ready to welcome the next achievement of Zenith in the universe of very high frequency: 1/1000th of a second!

Grey palette
Each issued in a 50-piece limited edition, the three El Primero anniversary watches, as well as the empty cushion designed to accommodate a future 1/1000th of a second chronograph, are presented in a boxed set that also symbolizes Zenith's evolution and future in the field of high frequency. Subtle nuances of grey, leather touches, contemporary woodwork: the presentation box combines watchmaking tradition with innovation in performance and precision. Adorned with the anniversary logo, the satin-brushed grey lid with built-in touch screen opens to reveal a reproduction of a miniature watchmaker's workbench, complete with a watch mechanism on a rest, adjustable lighting system, magnifying glass and screwdriver. The screw-locked lower part of the box contains a drawer in which the three El Primero chronographs are nestled. In a nod to the past, the box contains an actual die of the chronograph’s coupling-wheel bridge (one of the emblematic components of the El Primero movement). This die is an invitation to purchasers to come and visit the Manufacture in Le Locle and to hand-stamp two coupling-wheel bridges. One will leave with the purchaser in his box, and the other, engraved with his name, will be placed as historical testimony on the entrance wall of the famous attic chosen by Charles Vermot, the Zenith watchmaker who – in the midst of the quartz crisis in the early 1970s – saved the elements essential to the production of the El Primero calibre from destruction by secretly keeping them in that same attic and thus enabled its renaissance in 1984.

Reference: 03.A386. 400/69.C815
Original Revival of the 1969 Reference A386:
The first ever El Primero Model
Original 1969 case with 38 mm diameter
Automatic El Primero column-wheel chronograph
El Primero 400, Automatic
Power-reserve: min. 50 hours
Diameter: 38 mm
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Case-back: Transparent sapphire crystal
Stainless steel case
Dial: White-lacquered dial with three different-coloured counters
Black alligator leather strap with stainless steel pin buckle


Reference: 03.3001.3600/69.C816
Entirely redesigned movement to pay tribute to the 50th Anniversary of the legendary El Primero movement
Automatic El Primero column-wheel chronograph able to measure and display the 1/10th of a second
1/10th of a second indication on the ceramic bezel
Certified Chronometer
El Primero 3600, Automatic
Power-reserve: approx. 60 hours
Diameter: 42 mm
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Case-back: Transparent sapphire crystal
Stainless steel case
Black rubber with red stitching, Steel double folding clasp

Reference: 95.9012.9004/69.R582
1/100th of a second Chronograph movement
Exclusive dynamic signature of one rotation per second
1 escapement for the Watch (36,000 VpH - 5 Hz) ;
1 escapement for the Chronograph (360,000 VpH - 50Hz)
Certified Chronometer
El Primero 9004, Automatic
1/100th of a second Chronograph:
- Central chronograph hand
- 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock
- 60-second counter at 6 o'clock
- Chronograph power-reserve indication at 12 o'clock
Diameter: 44 mm
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Brushed titanium case
Black Rubber with black alligator leather coating, Titanium double folding clasp


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