By Jovan Krstevski
It took seven years of research for Zenith to finally present the El Primero, back in 1969. The very same year man walked on the Moon. In 1969 the name of the movement was the El Primero 3019 PHF, it later became referenced as the 410. Over the years the Calibre 410 has been used in several Zenith models thanks to the reliability and great precision of the movement.
This is a movement well-known as the world’s most accurate automatic chronograph with triple calendar and moonphase indications. The Calibre 410 is endowed with a 50-hour power reserve, like all the El Primero movements that would punctuate the Zenith collections, Calibre 410 made it all the way through until the year 2000. But icons never die, and Zenith is now reviving it in a 500-piece limited series featuring a slate grey dial.
Back in 2012 on May 14th at Christie’s there was an stunning Zenith El Primero prototype manufactured in 1970 that sold for over $40,000. This prototype was one of an estimated 25 pieces ever made. The watch did not go unnoticed by Zenith, as it the company itself was the winning bidder on this lot.
The days and months are counted off at 10 and 2 o’clock respectively, while the date is still located between 4 and 5 o’clock. Merging into the hour subdial at 6 o’clock, the moonphase shows the night star through a special-shaped aperture with two rounded cut-outs reproducing the dark part of the moon. The moon phases (waxing moon, full moon, waning moon, new moon) are displayed. The disc bearing two moons is driven by a 59-toothed wheel corresponding to two lunar cycles (2 x 29.5 days).
The 42mm steel case displays on-trend curves with alternating polished and brushed finishes. The watch also features rounded chronograph pushers and snailed counters which contrast with the slate grey dial. Rimmed by the tachometric scale on the opaline inner bezel ring, the rhodium hour-markers ensure a very good readability. We can also see the Zenith star on the top of the dial, and on the rotor in the caseback, the El Primero Calibre 410’s 390-part mechanism is clearly visible through the sapphire crystal case-back.
This vintage-inspired watch is priced at $11,000, and is also on my top 20 list! zenith-watches.com
• AUTOMATIC COLUMN-WHEEL CHRONOGRAPH WITH DAY/DATE/MONTH AND MOONPHASE INDICATIONS
• EL PRIMERO 410 CALIBRE: 390 COMPONENTS, 31 JEWELS & 36,000 VPH
• 42 MM DIAMETER CASE
El Primero 410, automatic
Calibre: 13 ¼ ‘‘‘ (Diameter: 30 mm)
Thickness: 6.60 mm
Frequency: 36,000 VpH – (5 Hz)
Power-reserve: min. 50 hours
Finishing: Oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” pattern
Hours and minutes in the centre
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
Date indicator between 4 and 5 o’clock
Full calendar indications (day, date, month)
– 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock
– 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
– Central chronograph seconds hand
CASE, DIAL & HANDS
Material: Stainless steel
Diameter: 42 mm
Dial opening diameter: 37.10 mm
Thickness: 12.75 mm
Crystal: Box-shaped sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Case-back: Transparent sapphire crystal
Water-resistance: 10 ATM
Dial: Silver-toned sunray
Hour-markers: Rhodium with SuperLuminova SLN C1, faceted
Hands: Rhodium with SuperLuminova SLN C1, faceted
Brown alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining
Stainless steel buckle with triple folding clasp
Jovan Krstevski – Founder, Proprietor & Executive Editor
Watch collector, aficionado and a Event profile in the Swedish nightlife. He launched Watchgeek back in 2011, which is now known as WristReview. He quotes ’WristReview is a site to help people find, explore, discover and enjoy wristwatches.’ His passion jump started in his early teens, when he was given his first mid-range wristwatch which was an Omega Seamaster. Since then he has always been in love with wristwatches!