In the midst of its much-talked-about transition, Zenith introduces a new El Primero with an entirely openworked dial.
by Sarah Jordan
To say we’ve had conversations about Zenith in 2017 is perhaps a bit of an understatement. Back in January, news that Zenith’s CEO, Aldo Magada, was stepping down – to be replaced by LVMH’s head of watchmaking, Jean-Claude Biver – resulted in a flurry of talk about the brand’s future. Fortunately, whispers of behind-the-scenes strategizing hasn’t dampened anyone’s opinion of Zenith’s watches. Its El Primero, for example, is regarded as one of the finest chronograph movements ever made, a high-frequency industry juggernaut that has driven everything from Panerais to Parmigianis (by way of Rolex’s own Cosmograph Daytona) and in recent months El Primero has been at the centre of its partnerships with Cohiba and Range Rover.
Now, Zenith is adding to its El Primero empire with the automatic Chronomaster El Primero Full Open featuring an openworked dial. This new dial neatly rounds-off the El Primero collection, which already includes a mixture of solid and porthole dials.
Described as ‘the most contemporary’ of the three El Primero dial options, Full Open certainly has Biver’s fingerprints upon it using the same design language we’ve seen from stablemate TAG Heuer’s Calibre 1 and Hublot’s Unico chronographs recently.
Through the new openwork dial, it is clear to see the gear train and springs at work within the 1/10 second El Primero 400 integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph calibre, with its 326 components and 31 jewels.
Whilst on the surface a completely different watch, this iteration of the draws heavily on the design of Zenith’s iconic El Primero 1969: the date window of the 38mm has been placed between 4 and 5 o’clock just like the original; and the blue colour is identical to the historical version.
The Full Open is available in 38mm and 42mm versions in steel or a two-tone option with steel and 18kt rose gold. The dial is completed with three counters on the dial; the 30 minute counter at 3 o’clock, the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and the small seconds counter at 9 o’clock.
Other design details include a silver-toned inner bezel ring, a black and white minute circle and faceted luminescent hands. Its power reserve tops 50 hours and it is water resistant to 100 metres.
If Zenith’s plan was to appease both the style-focused and those with a penchant for movements, it hasn’t done a bad job. Now, at least, the conversation continues in style.
To find out more about Salon QP 2017, click here