Zenith El Primero
Why We Love it
Why We Love it–
For many years, the words El Primero held little meaning outside of high-intensity watch enthusiast and collectors groups. But a few year ago, Zenith brought those words back into the fore with the release of their heritage piece, the El Primero Striking Tenth chronograph. The piece was a success in it's own right and got a lot of attention in industry publications. But it also marshaled the growing body of watch enthusiasts, urging them to look back at the history of the movement and the pieces produced around the legendary movement.
The El Primero was high-beat automatic chronograph movement that debuted in 1969, challenging Seiko's Reference 6139 and Project 99's Caliber 11 for the title of world's first automatic chronograph. The advent of the automatic chronograph was a huge technological feat and it changed the face of the industry, opening the door for many companies to offer their own models. But while the Caliber 11 found its way into a slew of watches, Zenith made their El Primero movements available to only a handful of other manufactures. And for good reason. Of the three movements that were released that year, only the El Primero was high-beat, offering significant added accuracy, a feature that Zenith was careful to let go of.
The Zenith A386 was the first model to be fitted with the El Primero movement and commands a hefty premium among collectors for its horological import. Subsequent to the A386 was the A385, which dawned in the mid 1970s. Where the A386 was hallmarked by its three different-colored sub-registers, the A385 was known for its fumé, or smoke, dial - a gorgeous light brown gradient coloration.
Any of these vintage Zeniths are hard to find in unmolested condition today, but good A385s are especially difficult to locate. This particular example is in excellent overall condition, with a strong case bearing its original brushing, a perfectly patinated dial and its original Gay Freres 'Ladder' bracelet.
If you've had your ear to the ground for vintage El Primeros, look no further. This one is sure to go in a flash.
Analog:Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
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.
We back each Analog:Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
Please contact us prior to purchase for additional details on shipping and payment options.
Shipping & Returns
Shipping & Returns+
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.
Zenith El Primero