When the Zenith El Primero hit the market, now fifty years ago, it immediately gained the status of being a benchmark. This is not only because it was the first automatic chronograph, but also because it combined this with an integrated column wheel and a high frequency of 36.000 vibrations per hour. This made it possible for the watch to measure time with an accuracy of 1/10th of a second.
Over the years the movement has powered more than only Zeniths, as it was even adopted by Rolex for their famed Daytona. This hasn’t stopped Zenith for improving it though, and a wide variety of complications was integrated during its illustrious career, with perhaps as most important one the creation of the caliber El Primero 9004. Thanks to a double escapement, the movement runs at 36.000 vibrations, yet the chronograph at 360.000 vibrations. This makes it possible to measure time up to 1/100th of a second.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the El Primero has Zenith created a special box that can hold four watches. The top part is shaped like a little watchmakers bench and comes complete with a die of the coupling-wheel bridge of the chronograph. Buyers are invited to visit the Zenith manufacture and use it to stamp two coupling-wheel bridges. One will become part of their box-set, while the other one will be engraved with the name of the buyer and become part of Zenith’s historical archives.Further does the box contain three Zenith El Primero’s, starting with the A386 Revival, which was made to honour the very first of this iconic chronograph from 1969.
Next, to this watch, we find the Chronomaster 2 El Primero, which features a newly designed movement, and is in terms of looks a modern interpretation of the original model.
With the Defy El Primero 21, the third watch in the box is also the amazing 1/100th of a second version of the El Primero present for this special occasion. The fourth spot for a watch is empty but is reserved for a new El Primero that is currently under development, and which will be able to measure 1/1000th of a second. All the 50 owners of this limited edition anniversary box will have the option to be the first to purchase this watch when it is released. This shows that while the El Primero has five decades of history behind it, the legend is still moving forward.