The Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar is an Instant Classic
The brand new Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar is the Mid-Century Chrono we always wanted but never got… until now
For many vintage watch aficionados, the design language, layout, and over all aesthetics of mid-century chronographs represents a pinnacle of watch design. The balance of the dial, with prominent sub registers and a plethora of information presented in perfect, legible equilibrium, is something that designers aspire to and collectors long for to this day. Where chronographs from the 1950s and early 1960’s tended towards rather reserved designs, the latter years of the 1960s saw more experimentation arise in terms of both aesthetics and mechanism.
In 1969 the Zenith El Primero ref. A386 deputed as one of the first automatic chronographs. The movement, its dependability, accuracy, and overall prowess, would continue to be a benchmark of watchmaking for the following 55 years. As innovative as the El Primero was, there were always plans for it to accommodate even more function. Unbeknownst to many, the architecture of the El Primero was originally intended to accommodate a triple date calendar and moonphase. According to Zenith, the success of the A386 resulted in that project being sidelined for a few years, until it was ultimately realized in a different, more dressy case.
But, as Zenith celebrates 55 years of the El primero, the practicality of the triple calendar, the elegance of a moonphase, and the classic proportions of the Chronomaster combine into what is likely to be one of the most celebrated watches of 2024 – the Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar.
The piece will be offered in three variations. First, a traditional panda dial is presented with rose gold indices and hands. The moonphase, supported by a brilliant metallic blue background with radial brushing, is punctuated by rose gold stars and a polished rose gold moon disc. The second, retains the same rose gold accents, but features a slate grey dial with matching outer 1/10th second track. Both pieces are available on either a stainless steel bracelet or on complementing leather straps.
The third and final variation, which is arguably the most striking of the three, features a deep, olive green sunburst dial and outer track. This edition is a boutique edition of sorts, and will only be available directly through Zenith via either their physical boutiques or online through Zenith.
Differing from its iconic predecessor, the sub registers on the Original Triple Calendar are slightly smaller and do not overlap. Where the large, multi-tonal sub registers of the A386 (and subsequently, the current production Chronomaster Original) is long established as the iconic look of the El Primero, these smaller, more subtle examples leave room for the calendar and moonphase functions to stretch out.
That is to say, with the additional complications, it would have been very easy for the dial to become too crammed, cluttered, or busy. The result, is a balanced, elegant dial that still retains its visual interest and dynamism.
Movement: Self winding El Primero 3610 movement, 1/10th second Chronograph, minutes, hours, triple calendar date with day, month, and date windows, moonphase, 60 hour power reserve
Case & Dial: Silver opaline panda dial (Ref: 03.3400.3610/38.M3200), Slate grey opaline dial (Ref: 03.3400.3610/39.M3200), Olive green sunray dial (Ref: 03.3400.3610/40.M3200)
Bracelet & Strap: Stainless steel bracelet, black, blue, or green calf skin strap with folding clasp
Price: 11,900 CHF on bracelet, 11,400 CHF
|Self-winding caliber SW200-1b; 41-hour power reserve
|Hours, minutes and seconds
|41.5mm; 316 steel with Cerulean blue stonewashed Cerakote coating, matte vintage navy aluminium bezel insert; water resistant to 300m
|Matte vintage navy; hour markers outlined in Super-LumiNova
|Vintage navy TPU-coated nylon; additional vintage navy nylon with fabric keepers
|Limited Edition of 200 pieces