Zenith El Primero Rainbow Flyback Chronograph

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REF 02.0470.405-25
Automatic
40 MM
– Show less
SKU AS04335
Article Number 40990170
ref 02.0470.405-25
case size 40 MM
movement Automatic Winding
approximate age 1990s
dial color Black
material Stainless Steel
style Chronograph
category Neo-Vintage
bracelet Metal
lug width 20 MM
Includes Includes stainless steel multi-link bracelet with signed deployant clasp. Also includes inner and outer boxes, books, warranty card, extra links, hangtag, and spare bezel insert.
overall condition The case is in great condition overall showing light wear consistent with age and use. Luminous matte black Tritium dial is in excellent condition with light even patina and matching handset. Unsigned crown.
REF 02.0470.405-25
Automatic
40 MM
– Show less
SKU AS04335
Article Number 40990170
ref 02.0470.405-25
case size 40 MM
movement Automatic Winding
approximate age 1990s
dial color Black
material Stainless Steel
style Chronograph
category Neo-Vintage
bracelet Metal
lug width 20 MM
Includes Includes stainless steel multi-link bracelet with signed deployant clasp. Also includes inner and outer boxes, books, warranty card, extra links, hangtag, and spare bezel insert.
overall condition The case is in great condition overall showing light wear consistent with age and use. Luminous matte black Tritium dial is in excellent condition with light even patina and matching handset. Unsigned crown.

Why We Love it

The Zenith El Primero automatic chronograph movement is a worthy contender for the pantheon of the most important mechanical calibres ever manufactured.

With a high beat rate, quickset date mechanism, and full-body winding rotor, these movements are robust, reliable, and accurate - and have  powered everything from the iconic A386 chronograph to the Rolex Daytona and a bevy of lesser known models from brands such as Movado and Waldan. 

In 1996, Zenith one-upped themselves by adding a Flyback feature to their Rainbow line of chronographs (allegedly to be considered for a French Air Force contract that never came to pass), and the watch you see here was born. 

Pressing the reset button after the chronograph is activated results in an instantaneous reset - or 'flyback' - action, allowing for the types precise timing useful to fighter pilots or while waiting at the checkout counter of your local deli.

Unlike the more colorful variant from which the Rainbow collection name was born, this particular example is very much a stark black and white military style, with a crisp, legible dial with printed Tritium Arabic indices, black date wheel at 4:30, and a large luminous handset. A bi-directionally rotating 60-minute timing bezel surrounds its sapphire crystal, featuring oversized ridges for easy grip, and it comes fitted to a multi-link stainless bracelet with signed deployant clasp.

This timepiece dates to the late 1990s and remains in strong condition throughout. It is also accompanied by its inner and outer box set, books, blank warranty card, hangtag, as well as extra links and a spare bezel insert. 

With rugged good looks, an interesting history, and a world-class movement, this piece offers a whole lot for under $5K.

Don't sleep on it!

Brand Story

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Georges Favre-Jacot began producing pocket watches in Le Locle at the age of twenty-two. By the turn of the 20th century, Favre-Jacot was producing marine chronometers and chronometer-grade movements, one of which won a chronometry competition in Neuchâtel in 1903. Under the name Zenith, formally established in 1911, Favre-Jacot expanded his production to include wristwatches.
Zenith's chronographs in particular gained a reputation for excellence. At first Zenith used Excelsior Park and Valjoux movements, sharing them with Universal Genève and Movado (with which Zenith would merge for a time in 1969). By the 1960s Zenith acquired ébauche manufacturer Martel and began using their movements exclusively, leading to lauded calibers such as the 146HP and 146DP, which launched in 1969.
1969 was a banner year for horology, as it saw the launch of the first automatic chronograph movement. This was a race between a team consisting of Hamilton, Heuer, Buren, Dubois-Depraz, and Breitling; Seiko; and Zenith. Zenith used the Caliber 146 as a basis for the caliber which the brand would dub "El Primero" — "the first." Of the consortium’s Caliber 11, Seiko’s reference 6139, and the El Primero, only the latter feature a “high-beat” movement for increased accuracy.
Zenith ceased using manually-wound movements in their chronographs after the introduction of the El Primero — however, then the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s hit, and the company was sold. Employees were ordered to destroy or otherwise liquidate their mechanical watchmaking tooling, but incredibly, one daring engineer, Charles Vermot, decided to hide machinery behind a false wall that he built himself in the attic of the company’s manufacture in Le Locle. He told no one about what he was doing — not even his family.

Then, in the 1980s after the company had changed hands once again, he led modern Zenith management to this secret cache of horological wonders, in which the El Primero tooling was hidden. Ebel placed the first modern order for El Primero movements in 1984, but it was Rolex, who ordered thousands of calibers to power their new automatic Daytonas, that saved the firm. Today, the El Primero powers numerous vintage-inspired chronographs as well as the new Chronomaster Sport, a watch aimed as a competitor at — with much irony — the Daytona.

A:S Guarantee

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Our Pledge

Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.

Condition

Since our pieces are vintage or pre-owned, please expect wear & patina from usage and age. Please read each item description and examine all product images.

Warranty

We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.

International Buyers

Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

Shipping & Returns

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All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states.

Most of our products are on hand and will ship directly from our headquarters in New York City. In some cases, watches will be shipped directly from one of our authorized partners.

We generally ship our products via FedEx, fully insured, within 5 business days of purchase. An adult signature is required for receipt of all packages for insurance purposes. Expedited shipping is available at an additional cost. We are also happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.

Returns must be sent overnight or by priority international delivery, fully insured and paid for by the customer. A restocking fee may apply. Watches must be returned in the same condition as initially shipped.

We welcome international buyers, please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.

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Zenith El Primero Rainbow Flyback Chronograph

Zenith El Primero Rainbow Flyback Chronograph

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Zenith El Primero Rainbow Flyback Chronograph

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