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Zenith brings back the first El Primero watch
New Models

Zenith brings back the first El Primero watch

Thursday, 03 June 2021
By The FHH Journal editors
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The FHH Journal editors

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Zenith is bringing back one of the earliest El Primero-equipped chronographs in the form of a Chronomaster Revival model.

In 1969, the Zenith El Primero, the first automatic high-frequency chronograph, was unveiled. It made its debut in three distinct stainless-steel models. Among them was the A385, a tonneau-shaped steel chronograph with an eye-catching brown gradient dial, which was the first “smoked” dial ever to be made in the watch industry and for Zenith.

Chronomaster Revival A385 © Zenith
Chronomaster Revival A385 © Zenith

After over 50 years, the time has come for the A385 to make its return in the form of a Chronomaster Revival model. Far more than just a vintage-inspired creation, the Chronomaster Revival A385 is an actual reproduction of the original model from 1969 in an exercise of “reverse engineering” by the Manufacture. Using the original blueprints and production plans, each part of the A385’s 37mm tonneau-shaped stainless-steel case, including the pump-style pushers, is faithful to the original 1969 model. The only differences, are the domed sapphire crystal instead of an acrylic glass and the display back instead of the closed solid steel case back, offering an unobstructed view of the El Primero 400 chronograph movement.

Heritage 1969-1970 © Zenith
Heritage 1969-1970 © Zenith

What made the A385 truly stand was its smoked brown gradient dial with a vignette effect that blackens towards the edges and provides a striking sense of visual depth, as if the dial was domed. For this Chronomaster Revival piece, Zenith sought to recreate the same warm tones and gradient effect, almost indistinguishable from the original with its red chronograph central second hand and silvery-white chronograph counters.

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