This new tri-color chronograph from Zenith, with its contemporary architecture and sleek grey tones, is available exclusively online and is not available in stores. It’s quite a shift away from the stance the major Swiss watch brands used to take as recently as a decade ago, starkly warning customers not to buy online.
Since the launch of the A386 in 1969, Zenith’s tri-color chronograph counters have become one of the most instantly recognizable design features of any watch, and the much loved subdial colorway composition lives on in this new creation.
This is the second exclusive piece to emerge from the online boutique, and heralds the latest generation of the game changing El Primero movement, one of the most respected and oft-imitated chronograph movements ever made.
The new El Primero 3600 beats within a 38mm bezel-less steel case and retains the same discreet proportions as the original. Familiar features include the pump-style pushers and raised glass “box”. Meanwhile the new high frequency movement, beating at 5hz (36,00vph), allows for a 1/10th of a second chronograph function and efficiently ramps up the power reserve to 60 hours.
In this new release, the online-exclusive Chronomaster Original takes the tri-color theme a step further. The main portion of the dial is split into three sections that echo the same shades of grey and blue as the chronograph counters.
Additionally, the tenths-of-a-second scale surrounding the dial, which has always been one of the most distinct features of the original A386, has a new and nifty tri-color tweak. With the date window at 4:30 o’ clock, the scale is now divided into three distinct portions making reading of the 1/10th of a second scale much easier. It’s the first time another part of the dial besides the chronograph counters has been given the tri-color treatment that links itself so powerfully to the El Primero.
Even the strap has gone ever so subtly tri-color; it’s made from grey nubuck leather with blue stitching on one side and black on the other.
As with a clutch of other online editions, great consideration to the packaging has also been given to this online exclusive version. Once the Chronomaster Original E-Commerce Edition arrives at your door and you excitedly slice open the outer cardboard box, the watch within comes beautifully packaged in a smart blue box resembling a coffee table book. On the cover is a full color 2D drawing of the watch that’s housed inside.
The Chronomaster E-commerce Edition’s 38mm-wide size could be considered the ‘new small’. By keeping to the original sleek 1969 proportions, it’s more compact in diameter than most of the luxury chronograph wristwatches on the market today. Nonetheless packed within its tri-color bezel-less design sensibilities is a chronograph movement that goes back further than the rest as well.
With a super slim bezel and easy on the eye lugs, it certainly doesn’t seem like a small watch once on the wrist. The only departure from the original A386 is the caseback, which is see-through for this version whereas the original was a non-see through screw down, which IMHO may well have worked better for this version too.
Movement: El Primero 3600 Self winding
Case & Dial: White with tri-colored counters; 38mm stainless steel; water-resistant up to 50m; Power reserve: 60 hours
Functions: Hours, Minutes, Seconds, Chronograph, Date
Frequency: 5 Hz (36,000 vph)
Price: US$8,400 exclusively at the Zenith online boutique