Zenith Chronomaster Original for HODINKEE

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REF 03.3201.3600/18.M3200
Automatic
38 MM
– Show less
SKU AS07733
Article Number 40991136
ref 03.3201.3600/18.M3200
case size 38 MM
movement Automatic Winding
approximate age 2020s
dial color Exotic
material Stainless Steel
style Chronograph
category Pre-Owned Contemporary
bracelet Metal
lug width 20 MM
Includes Stainless steel multi-link bracelet with signed fliplock clasp. Also includes inner and outer boxes, books, signed leather cardholder, polishing cloth, serialized hangtag, and warranty card.
overall condition The case is in as-new condition, showing only faint wear from careful handling with factory stickering throughout. Opaline 'salmon' dial with applied luminous indices and multi-colored subsidiary registers is in as-new condition with matching handset. Signed crown. Sapphire exhibition caseback.
REF 03.3201.3600/18.M3200
Automatic
38 MM
– Show less
SKU AS07733
Article Number 40991136
ref 03.3201.3600/18.M3200
case size 38 MM
movement Automatic Winding
approximate age 2020s
dial color Exotic
material Stainless Steel
style Chronograph
category Pre-Owned Contemporary
bracelet Metal
lug width 20 MM
Includes Stainless steel multi-link bracelet with signed fliplock clasp. Also includes inner and outer boxes, books, signed leather cardholder, polishing cloth, serialized hangtag, and warranty card.
overall condition The case is in as-new condition, showing only faint wear from careful handling with factory stickering throughout. Opaline 'salmon' dial with applied luminous indices and multi-colored subsidiary registers is in as-new condition with matching handset. Signed crown. Sapphire exhibition caseback.

Why We Love it

For many years, the words El Primero held little meaning outside of high-intensity vintage watch enthusiast and collectors groups. But that all changed a few years ago, when Zenith began reissuing many of its famed designs from the 1960s and 1970s.

The El Primero was the culmination of a years-long research and development process undertaken by Zenith to develop the world’s first automatic chronograph movement. While other brands had sought to achieve the same feat — including Heuer (in concert with Breitling and Hamilton) and Seiko — Zenith intended to make the El Primero something entirely unique. Instead of taking an automatic module and merely sandwiching it onto the chronograph, Zenith fully integrated the two; moreover, the movement would be a high-beat calibre, offering significant added accuracy.

Zenith announced the El Primero on January 10, 1969, at a press conference. This was four years later than Zenith had intended: the brand had begun developing the calibre in 1963, hoping to bring it out for Zenith’s centennial in 1965. Nevertheless, on that winter day in 1969, Zenith proudly displayed a working model of its chronograph.

The A386 was the first model to be fitted with the El Primero movement, and therefore commands a hefty premium among collectors for its horological import. Recently, Zenith partnered with HODINKEE on a special, limited-edition timepiece that takes the A386 platform and pairs it to a stunning, contemporary dial that never existed in the vintage Zenith catalog.

Dating to circa 2022, the Zenith Chronomaster Original Limited Edition for HODINKEE is housed in a 38mm stainless steel case with a sapphire crystal, a signed crown, dual barrel pishers, and a polished bezel. It features a luminous, matte salmon-colored opaline dial with an inner 1/10th-second tachymeter scale, applied indices, a luminous white and black ‘baton’ handset, a triple-register chronograph layout in white, light grey, and dark grey, and a subtle date window at 4:30. 

Powering this gorgeous watch is the El Primero Calibre 3600, a hi-beat, automatic movement with a notable — and rare — 1/10th-seconds complication. Paired to a stainless steel multi-link bracelet with a signed, locking clasp and featuring a sapphire exhibition caseback, it comes with its factory goodies and its intact stickers. 

The El Primero — in all its guises — is a historically important, beautiful series of watches and movements. This particular, limited-edition iteration, however, is truly a work of art. 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 Chronomaster Original for HODINKEE

Zenith Chronomaster Original for HODINKEE

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Zenith Chronomaster Original for HODINKEE

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