Some watches don’t have to prove anything anymore. Their name is enough to gain a watch connoisseurs respect, and in rare cases, you don’t even have to mention the exact model to achieve this. One of these watches is the Zenith El Primero. A watch that cannot only rely on a strong heritage but also kept its relevance because Zenith continued to invest in it. Today clients can still buy the pure El Primero with only a chronograph, but also far more complex varieties such as the Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon.
The watch that started it all was the A386. While it was the very first automatic chronograph that was officially announced, it was its movement that also played an important part, why this watch still enjoys such a healthy fanbase. With its escapement running at 5Hz, or 36,000 vph, it not only offered a greater accuracy but also allowed for the chronograph to measure time with the precision of 1/10th of a second. While technically tempting, is also the design of the A386 very charismatic. It’s three subdials, each in another color, overlapped slightly, setting it visually apart from how many other chronographs looked yet in a very subtle way. While today an original A386 looks vintage, it doesn’t look dated.
As the El Primero is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Zenith thought that it was a good idea to revive the A386, and we must concur with them. They, fortunately, realized that if your initial design is already as perfect as that of the A386, you shouldn’t change that much. The A386 Revival comes close to the original, and Zenith even resisted the temptation to make it any larger. While the 38mm diameter sounds small by today’s standard, it most certainly doesn’t wear small thanks to a relatively thin bezel. Also the charismatic dial helps in this matter, as the overlapping of the subdials creates a visual effect that makes the watch look larger.
What is most interesting is that Zenith introduced the El Primero A386 Revival in three colors gold. In white gold, it looks the soberest and almost industrial, while yellow gold really knows how to capture that vintage feel. The version with the rose gold case looks warm and surprisingly contemporary. All three are equipped with El Primero caliber 400, which, of course, features automatic winding and runs at a frequency of 36,000 vph. While most gold watches these days feature a folding clasp, did Zenith opt for a more traditional pin buckle for this watch, again just like the original.
The only downside about the A386 Revival is that it is limited to 50 pieces in each color gold. While we can only applaud Zenith for making the limited edition this exclusive, the good looks of this particular watch and the popularity of the El Primero in general should easily guarantee sales ten-fold of this number and made more collectors very happy. All the more lucky are those that will actually be able to obtain an A386 Revival, a watch that signifies that that legend and appeal of the El Primero is timeless and everlasting.