How hard is to find the perfect chronograph? Well very, it has to be manual for the thinness and big for legibility, but does it really works? I would argue that automatic and 38mm would be perfection but then if the chronograph is not integrated and has a module on top of a base movement, then thickness arrives, then with a small canvas under 42mm like the beloved Omega Speedmaster, everything becomes cluttered, just to close together, but not with the El Primero. I decided that if I was going to add a chronograph to my collection it had to be the an iconic one, the previous mentioned Speedmaster is everywhere and for a good reason, is an splendid piece but again is everywhere, the Zenith to me is a bit of a rebel, yes it has the history of being the first integrated automatic chronograph ( Seiko has something to say here) and it’s a funky as anything I've owned. It is among my watches probably the most refined one, feel vintage but modern, feel futuristic. In a little bit of a twist I went for the grey or anthracite (as people call grey these days) and the result is incredible, here are my impressions.
The watch is 38mm and wears a bit larger which makes it perfect, the legibility is incredible and those vintage style applied markers do look great today, I bet they look as awesome back then too. Everything is very symmetrical as a chronograph should be and that red start as a counterbalance for the central hand is as iconic as the rest of the piece. The case is beautifully styled, very 70's in my opinion and then the sub markers with different colors just looks like anything else. On the back we have a display case back to admire the El primero movement which runs at 36 000 VPH ( 5Hz) making it true to the original watch. The smoothness when you operate the chronograph is incredible, so mechanical that is hard to explain in today's digital world, this is of course due to the column wheel which is hidden on the El primero layout.
On the wrist:
The watch wears like a charm, the 19mm lugs give the piece a very flowing look and that crystal with no bezel really complete the charm of this retro-modern piece. The watch works well on a nato strap for a tool look or a leather strap for a more casual vibe, it does come with a black leather bracelet but I prefer a more informal look for this iconic beast. The watch is very legible as mentioned and this is one of the main features, the center disc are present all the time but are not overwhelming and then the lume is beautifully done, easy to read ready to race.
Everyone is very aware of the El Primero history and it's great that a watch that has been dominating the chronograph scene for so long is still relevant, I can really see why not only because is a great tool watch but also because its versatility. The El primero is a watch that not only has a loyal plethora of fans but also their technical capabilities are unmatched, even the mighty Rolex Daytona used this unstoppable engine, and if it was good enough for Rolex for sure it would be good for me.
Written by Robbie from Robbie & Watches
Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.
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