Introducing the Zenith Chronomaster Original

Introducing the Zenith Chronomaster Original

The Low-Down

There must be something in the water cooler at manufacture Zenith — it’s the only rational reason to explain the constant parade of exceptionally hot chronographs making their way out of the brand’s HQ this year. The Chronomaster Sport knocked our collective socks off at the start of the year with its modern good looks, and most recently, the Chronomaster Revival Safari turned us green with envy. The hits keep coming though, as Zenith has just announced the long-awaited successor to the A386; the Chronomaster Original.

The Zenith Chronomaster Original pays tribute to the A386 with its 38mm round steel case with a raised and domed crystal, the pump-style chronograph pushers, the faceted lugs and the mix of radial brushed and polished surfaces.
The Zenith Chronomaster Original pays tribute to the A386 with its 38mm round steel case with a raised and domed crystal, pump-style chronograph pushers, faceted lugs and the mix of radial brushed and polished surfaces.
Apart from the signature steel with tri-colour dial configuration, the watch is available in two other versions - a steel case with a “reverse panda” black dial with silver chronograph registers and an 18k rose gold version with the tri-colour dial.
For instantaneous, precise reading of the 10th of a second, the paddle-shaped seconds hand of the original A386 has been replaced with a straight, red-lacquered hand in this model.

IMHO

The A386 is a legend, and Zenith has honoured it well in the last few years. It’s also a legend that the Chronomaster Original pays clear homage too. The case shape, size and — most importantly — the dial layout — all honour that historic reference. But the Chronomaster Original is very much its own thing. Take the dial for example; the logo and script have been updated with a more modern flavour, as has the whirling 1/10th of a second chronograph and the outer chronograph scale. The bracelet offered is another significant change. The ladder style has made way for a more modern style with polished centre links and an absolutely gorgeous combination of chamfer and brushing.

The Chronomaster Original is equipped with the El Primero 3600 that delivers a power reserve of 60 hours.
The Chronomaster Original is equipped with the El Primero 3600 that delivers a power reserve of 60 hours.
For instantaneous, precise reading of the 10th of a second, the paddle-shaped seconds hand of the original A386 has been replaced with a straight, red-lacquered hand in this model.
Apart from the signature steel with tri-colour dial configuration, the watch is available in two other versions - a steel case with a “reverse panda” black dial with silver chronograph registers and an 18k rose gold version with the tri-colour dial.

It’s also important to note that we’re not talking about a single new watch here either. Zenith has dropped five new references in two different dial variants. The first is the signature tri-colour dial variant, offered in steel on bracelet or leather, and rose gold on leather is lovely. The other two are leather and bracelet versions of a steel reverse panda configuration which — to mix my animal metaphors — is the bee’s knees. This latter version, with its sensitively done vintage-toned lume and thoroughly modern case and bracelet, is a truly impressive retro-modern chronograph.

The “reverse panda” black dial with its sensitively done vintage-toned lume and thoroughly modern case is a truly impressive retro-modern chronograph.
The “reverse panda” black dial with its sensitively done vintage-toned lume and thoroughly modern case is a truly impressive retro-modern chronograph.
The “reverse panda” black dial with its sensitively done vintage-toned lume and thoroughly modern case is a truly impressive retro-modern chronograph.

The Chronomaster Original is an important step forward for Zenith, a blend of old world and future tech that will sit strongly alongside the Chronomaster Sport.

Tech Specs

The “reverse panda” black dial with its sensitively done vintage-toned lume and thoroughly modern case is a truly impressive retro-modern chronograph.

Movement: El Primero Automatic 3600, 5 Hz, approx. 60 hours of power reserve.
Case and dial: 38mm, steel or gold, rated to 5 ATM. Dial either black matte with silver counters or silver with three-colours sub dials.
Strap or bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet with double folding clasp, or leather with triple folding clasp.
Price Availability: All references available from Zenith boutiques, e-commerce and retailers worldwide. Steel references on leather, 8400 CHF, on steel 8900 CHF. Gold model, 18900 CHF.

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Felix Scholz

Felix Scholz has spent the last decade covering watches from his home in Australia. Given this, it's surprising that he still struggles with time zones. Over the years he's become a firm believer that less is more when it comes to watch design – except when a rainbow bezel is involved. He's written for numerous titles including Hodinkee, GQ, A Collected Man and more. These days he looks after the Australian edition of Revolution and takes a break from writing about watches to talk about them, as the co-host of OT: The Podcast.

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