Hands-On Review of the Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic (El Primero) in Gold

Hands-On Review of the Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic (El Primero) in Gold

When the watch furor started for me, some place in the 1990’s, I met with a watchmaker (who I became companions with) who had this interest in Zenith’s El Primero chronograph developments. Gracious, and gold watches. He showed me his Zenith El Primero Chronomaster with full schedule in gold and I was sold. Each time I see this watch – be it in gold or hardened steel – I remind myself to purchase that watch at some point.

So, when Zenith reached me whether we would be keen on doing an audit and photograph shoot on their Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic I quickly said yes. Some time back Bert and I went to Switzerland to do a little visit visiting watch producers and one of them was Zenith ( you can discover the visit report here ). It was quite possibly the most noteworthy visits I have done as such far since 2004.

Mr Mazzilli and me during the Zenith produce visit

Sure, there are produces that do delightful things too, similar to A. Lange & Söhne’s hand-etching on the equilibrium cockerel of the development, Grönefeld’s carefully cleaning on their developments or name a portion of the other (autonomous) very good quality watchmaking brands and individuals. In any case, when visiting Zenith in Le Locle in the colder time of year of 2014, the old structures that houses roughly 250 representatives chipping away at watches gave me the sensation of being in a little town of watchmaking with all their (associated) structures. Strolling in the workshops, in the first old structure style caused me to feel being during the 1950s, notwithstanding all the advanced gear in the rooms. We’ve seen the whole cycle, from the division with originators and item improvement, the room where they cut the large bars of metal into development plates, to the furthest limit of the interaction where watches are being cased and prepared for shipment.

Some marks just show the way toward packaging or maybe the get together of developments, however at Zenith we had the option to see everything, from the initial steps till the last checks and preparing the watch for shipment. It had an immense effect on us.

I am uncertain about whether end-buyers get that equivalent impression from seeing Zenith at the vendor. I infrequently see ads from Zenith in which they could clarify a piece what they are doing and how extraordinary they are in today’s watch fabricating climate. So how might they (or you) find out about these things, realities of Zenith’s in-house watchmaking and some set of experiences on one of the world’s first – and still in production!!! – programmed chronograph developments, you need to peruse watch explicit magazine titles (preferably on-line) like our own, or aBlogToWatch, Hodinkee, Deployant, Bexsonn thus on.

“The First”

You need to realize that the El Primero (which means ‘the first’) was one of the primary programmed chronograph developments close to the Chronomatic (a joint endeavor between Heuer, Dubois Dépraz, Hamilton-Buren, Breitling,  and Seiko’s 6139A programmed chronograph development. All presented in 1969. The Zenith El Primero type 3019PH was first utilized in the Zenith reference A386 ( for your understanding delight, we did a comparison article between the Zenith El Primero A386 and the Seiko 6139 here ). Zenith chose to build up their development with a beat pace of 36,000vph, a purported high beat development. Seiko, while later on additionally utilizing high beat developments, had a beat pace of 21,600vph for example.

The first Zenith El Primero with type 3019PH movement.

Today’s Zenith El Primero developments are as yet dependent on this 1969 self-twisting chronograph, with the high beat pace of 36,000vph, empowering you to match 1/10th of a second with its 5hz recurrence. Zenith disclosed to me that they are still entirely equipped for adjusting – any – El Primero they could possibly do, including the absolute initial ones. They produce everything in-place obviously, so they can re-produce parts, however the development of these developments is a lot of the equivalent, regardless of whether it is a development of many years prior or a pristine El Primero type. For the end-purchaser, that’s you, this additionally helps in keeping the assistance estimating (and maybe significantly more significant: the time expected to support a watch) very reasonable.

Let’s not make it too geek here, and proceed onward with our active survey of the Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic in gold.

Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic (El Primero) in Gold

Today I am looking into the Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic reference 18.2270.4069/01.C498 with El Primero 4069 type. This watch is, as the name proposes, part of the Elite assortment. This used to be an assortment with Elite developments (not an El Primero type). Zenith additionally has an assortment called El Primero, which makes it somewhat confounding here and there to direct the assortment or decide to which assortment a watch has a place. This particular Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic doesn’t have ‘Elite’ imprinted on the dial, so if you’d see it in the showcase of a retailer, you might have very much accepted it is a watch that has a place with the El Primero family, in view of the way that it is a chronograph. Other than the El Primero and Elite families, there are additionally the Star, ‘Pilot’ and Academy ones. These (can) likewise use El Primero type movements.

Anyway, that doesn’t have a lot to do with the actual watch obviously. It is only a confounding method to fragment an assortment of watches.

The Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic was presented a year ago (150th commemoration of Zenith) and comes in rose gold, similar to this one, and in impeccable steel.

It is a generally huge watch for a dress watch, as it has a width of 42mm and an extremely dainty bezel. So this Zenith sizes like an Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’, however gives off an impression of being bigger in light of the huge dial and slim bezel. In stature, this Zenith Elite Chronograph classic estimates 11.80mm. The huge dial is essentially magnificent. It gives that 1950s appearance because of the domed precious stone (sapphire, not plexi) and wonderful silver conditioned sunray completed dial. The gold plated applied lists and leaf formed hands reinforces this 1950s look as well.

As composed over, the way that there is no model name on the dial (or some other composing other than “Zenith”) makes it maybe somewhat hard to know to which assortment it has a place, however that’s just a pragmatic thingy. For style reasons, it is essentially lovely that this dial is liberated from some other composition than the name of the brand.

Clean 1950s looking dial

The chronograph development utilized in this Zenith, demonstrates the recorded seconds and minutes. Despite the fact that I likewise might want to gauge hours (which I routinely do when going for instance), this one is simply as long as 30 minutes. It isn’t that a serious deal for a great many people I surmise, this watch isn’t intended to be an instrument watch for instance, it is a dress watch and a chronograph complication is now a piece ‘sporty’ for a dress watch.

One of the coolest things about this dial is that it is perfect and doesn’t have a date window. More than once I commented here on watches that had a date window and truth be told shouldn’t have. Patek Philippe’s Nautilus 5711 or Audemars Piguet’s Royal Oak 15202  for model, or the Omega Globemaster . A few watches truly needn’t bother with a date.

Other watches unquestionably need a date, yet classic dress watches like the Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic ought to remain date-less. I consider it to be enhanced this watch. Further more, the day or date is something you find toward the beginning of the day on your telephone, PC or whatever gadgets you haul around, you just need to know it once at regular intervals and you recall. Time isn’t, of course.

The caseback additionally shows us the new El Primero 4069 type. This high beat development has a base force save of 50 hours and comprises of 254 sections. It is a pleasantly enriched development, with the Côtes de Genevè finish on the rotor, blued screws and segment wheel, texturing and brushed parts. A delight to see through the sapphire crystal.

Zenith El Primero 4069 caliber

The two-register chronograph is worked utilizing the two rectangular formed pushers at 2 and 4 o’clock. These rectangular molded pushers add the 1950s look & feel to the watch and its classic appearance. On the photograph underneath you see these pushers and marked crown, with no crown watches (fortunately). You can likewise notice the classic lines of the case and carries on that image, just as the sapphire domed gem with AR covering.

The finish of the 42mm x 11.8mm instance of the Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic is a combination of cleaned and brushed parts, which gives it a brilliant appearance, both in the sun and in low-light conditions. It is one of the watches that excels on the wrist, that individuals will see and – if they’re into watches – will comment about. I discovered that it got some decent comments first, and than being gotten some information about which brand is was. That is very fascinating, as a great deal of time individuals will perceive the watch of a specific brand (let’s say Rolex or Audemars Piguet) and really at that time comment on it.

The Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic comes on a wonderful sewed dark crocodile tie. Despite the fact that I incline toward ordinary clasps on watches, particularly dress watches, this gold collapsing clasp on the watch is amazing. Once more, completed in a combination of cleaned and brushed parts and the Zenith logo embellished on the clasp.

Although the inventory on the Zenith site doesn’t give any notice of this, the caseback of the Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic demonstrates that there are just 150 pieces made of this watch. That number compares to the commemoration of a year ago obviously. There is likewise a hardened steel adaptation of this watch, that is definitely not a restricted edition.


If this is the course that CEO Aldo Magada (incredible person, we addressed him for a long time in Le Locle) and Jean-Claude Biver (Head of looks for the LVMH gathering) will take, I am in support of it. I accept Biver realizes Zenith isn’t Hublot and ensures that it stays close to the underlying foundations of this brand from Le Locle.

The Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic in rose gold is a watch that very intrigued me. There is little to reprimand here, aside from the confounding utilization of model and family names maybe, yet that has nothing to do with the actual watch. One could say that 42m is excessively enormous for this watch, however I agree. Albeit 39mm or 40mm would sound more ‘classic’ than 42mm, it really wears extraordinary on the wrist and mine are not that large. It is the solitary thing really that may trouble – or forestall – individuals from purchasing this Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic, regardless of whether it is the rose gold or a tempered steel watch. In the event that the dial plan or absence of a date window pesters you, I think you are simply making an effort not to get one on the off chance that you are in the running for another chronograph with a classic touch and cost range.

Talking about estimating, the rose gold Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic I investigated has a rundown cost of $21,600.- USD. The hardened steel one is estimated at $8900.- USD. $21,600 is a great deal of cash, in any event, for a gold watch, yet it is a restricted release and utilizing this celebrated in-house chronograph development. The tempered steel variant is exceptionally alluring in such manner. It is comparable to Omega’s or Breitling’s in-house chronograph developments for instance, however those watches that are outfitted with one are lively pieces and have a completely unique style. When compared to different brands that offer classic chronographs with in-house developments that are comparable to this El Primero 4069, I think it is reasonably estimated to be honest.

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Clean 1950s looking dial Zenith El Primero 4069 type The primary Zenith El Primero with type 3019PH development.

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