By James Phang
When people mention Zenith, their El Primero series immediately jumps to mind. El Primero, the self-winding chronograph calibre designed by Zenith and launched in 1969, is still one of the best movements in watchmaking history. That, paired with Haute Horology features, and the Zenith El Primero Tourbillon is born.
Together with the two classic models in rose gold or stainless steel with a white or black lacquered dial, Zenith introduced a classic/contemporary version in brushed titanium with a slate grey dial.
The case, made of grade 5 titanium is fully brushed, with the exception of selected polished areas to place the emphasis on certain features of the watch. A polished bevel runs from a lug to another and the bezel detaches from the rest, due to this shiny finish. The anthracite grey rim forms a figure-of-eight shape which again stands out against the brushed dial base. The dial also appears more rugged than its classical siblings, evident from its large applied indexes and black Super-LumiNova coated hands. The sporty feel is also visible through the newly designed pushers, which are now larger and rectangular in shape instead of the classic round ones. The overall look and feel offers a unique combination of depth and structure and is executed really well through the shades of grey used in designing the timepiece.
It is powered by a highly accurate and reliable 36,000vph (5Hz) tourbillon with a power reserve of 50 hours. It is a noteworthy feature, considering that most of the tourbillons run at 21,600vph (3Hz) or 28,800vph (4Hz).The tourbillon is powered by the self-winding 4035D calibre which lies off-centre at 11 o’ clock while its offset tourbillon carriage is revealed through a generous dial opening. Zenith decided to veer away from the norm with regard to the positions of its chronograph counters; the hour counter is located at 6 o’clock while the minutes are at 3 o’clock position. The date is displayed by a small ring that rotates and can be read via a pointer on the inner flange of the watch.
The Zenith El Primero Tourbillon’s 45 mm-diameter case is water-resistant to 100 metres and features a sapphire crystal caseback to display the El Primero Calibre 4035D movement with its gold oscillating weight adorned with a “Côtes de Genève” motif.
The Zenith El Primero Tourbillon models are priced at ~US$ 71,000 for the new titanium contemporary model, US$ 60,000 for the classic version in stainless steel and US$ 83,000 for the rose gold model.
For more info, please visit zenith-watches.com
JAMES PHANG – CONTRIBUTING WRITER
James Phang is a young watch enthusiast from Singapore and is a self-professed fanatic of independent brands for their unique avant-garde designs. Some of his favourite brands include MB&F, Urwerk, Romain Jerome, Sarpaneva, Peter Speake-Marin and Azimuth. His love for art extends out to all things handmade, and he has made it his personal mission to find the best handmade straps and buckles worldwide for his humble collection. Read his articles here