Geneva-based brand ZRC pays homage to one of mankind’s greatest discoveries made thousands of years ago: bronze. A material appreciated for both its durability and its patina, it is now used in the case of the new Grands Fonds Vintage 1964 Spirit Bronze, a limited edition consisting of only 170 pieces.
Aprecious alloy of copper, which gives it its golden honey color, and tin, which makes it tough, bronze has many advantages, in particular a high resistance to corrosion and wear. These qualities were already well-known in 3000BC when mankind learned how to hone it and turn it into tools, weapons and other instruments. Introduced to the world of watchmaking less than a decade ago, this noble material now forms part of the collection of Geneva-based brand ZRC. Its rather pronounced gray-green patina, which develops over time, makes each timepiece unique.
This new watch, named 1964 Spirit Bronze and produced in only 170 pieces, draws inspiration from its predecessor, the famous Grands Fonds 300 developed as early as 1960 by ZRC, officially adopted by the French Navy in 1964 and re-issued in 2015. Perfectly identifiable thanks to its characteristic shape with full attachments and a crown at 6 o’clock, the 40.5 mm monobloc case, which is water resistant up to 300 m, is forged in bronze. Its bronze hue is picked out in subtle touches in the delicately marbled hand-patinaed matte black dial. It is also used in the body of the two wide skeletonized Magnum hour and minute hands and the lollipop style second hand as well as the hour circle formed of applied Arabic numerals and hour markers. The sandy beige shade of the luminous “Old Radium” material applied to the face of the 1964 Spirit Bronze gently contrasts with its black face crisscrossed with thin stripes and protected by a 4 mm curved sapphire crystal.
In terms of technical development, this timepiece has all the essential attributes which established ZRC’s reputation and which provide its water resistance. Firstly, the Crown Protection SystemTM guarantees the safety of the crown by preventing the strap with retractable lugs from being repositioned if the crown is not fully screwed down. Secondly, the ECSTM (Easy Clean System) ensures the inside of the unidirectional rotating bezel is clean by diluting and removing sea salt, which when crystallized can irreparably damage a diving watch.
Bringing to life the most important part of the time display, thanks to the trio of hands on the dial side, the bronze body houses the powerful ETA 2824-2 caliber. This highly dependable mechanical self-winding movement, found in most ZRC timepieces, vibrates at a standard frequency of 28,800 oscillations per hour (4 Hz) and offers a power reserve of 38 hours.
In the words of the company’s motto “la vie est Aventures”, life is full of adventures, and therefore the 1964 Spirit Bronze watch uses this ancient shimmering gold alloy to retrace the adventures of humanity: mankind’s journey of trial and error from the first technical discoveries, such as bronze, made thousands of years ago up to the beginnings, albeit several centuries later, of watchmaking. Whether you prefer to be in nature or on asphalt, just putting this on your wrist, with its aged leather strap, will unleash your inner explorer.