For its second opus, the Fine Watch Club, the first international club for multi brand watch owners, will offer its members this October, one of the most iconic pieces in Swiss watchmaking: The El Primero. More than a movement, a calibre, or a model, this watch and movement has become almost a brand of its own and a unique story in watchmaking.
El Primero is the mouthpiece of the Zenith manufacture. Since 1865, the movement has accumulated 2,333 awards for its chronometry. Mechanical precision is at the heart of its DNA, and the El Primero is in a constant quest for that precision. With the capability of beating at 36,000VpH per hour ever since 1969, this calibre has been at the heart of the manufacture’s collections as well as that of other brands, such as the inevitable Cosmograph Daytona from Rolex, of which the first vibrations were powered by the El Primero.
24 pieces for members of the Fine Watch Club
Today, the Zenith Revival series in precious metals that celebrates the legendary movement’s 50th anniversary is sold out. It’s for this reason that the brand has created with the Fine Watch Club a limited edition of 24 pieces of its emblematic A386: the “Zenith El Primero A386 Revival Fine Watch Club Edition”. This exclusive iteration of the capsule collection is a reminder of the popularity of this watchmaking legend still widespread among collectors, in the quest of a horological myth, a sort of Holy Grail. The Fine Watch Club edition opens a door into a tight-knit circle of collectors who look for what others don’t have; a watch only they can possess.
For the first time, this model features a bronzed “tobacco” dial. The piece is paired with a leather or alligator strap of a similar shade. For the dial, purists will appreciate the three variations of the iconic blue/grey counters, the famous “tri-compax” dial layout that made its mark on watchmaking history. The piece preserves its sports chic aesthetic with a 38mm case in stainless steel that anchors its functionality in sports.
At 4:30, Zenith kept the date window that you can find on its models dating back 50 years. Classy and elegant, the Zenith El Primero A386 Revival Fine Watch Club Edition is destined for those who want to sport 50 years of watchmaking heritage.
Versatile and elegant, the El Primero united trends of its time. The incarnation of absolute precision in the 20th century, the movement entered the 21st century by becoming visible through an open dial showcasing the escapement and by defying its own standards (El Primero Defy 21 with a 1/100th of a second chronograph movement).
Initially introduced in 1969 in Baselworld’s Hall 1.0, the movement took the industry by storm for its frequency, beating at 36,000 vibrations per hour, setting a new standard few could meet. And this world premiere movement? It was housed in the reference A386, a watch with a bold dial design with three different coloured subdials and an angled date at 4:30. Back then, a completely modern take on the chronograph design, the A386 is now a highly sought-after model on the vintage market.
The El Primero remains lauded for what it represents in watchmaking history as well as for its technical achievements. The fact that it can measure up to one tenth of a second makes it precise enough for the majority of cases. Anything more than that can be, and has been, measured using electronic instruments, and the El Primero remains the modern-day de facto leader in pure mechanical chronometry.