Through the perfect clarity of the sapphire dial revealing an open-hearted mechanism, this new Chronomaster El Primero flaunts its palpitating pace for all to see. Artfully staged within an imposing 45 mm-steel case, its high-frequency skeletonised mechanism reveals its unique style in a spirit of complete transparency.
With its powerful build framing a clear view of its legendary mechanism, the new Chronomaster El Primero Grande Date Full Open unveils the heart of performance and precision in the inimitable Zenith style. This self-winding skeleton-worked chronograph, equipped with a column wheel and a silicon escapement, is highlighted by a dial carved in sapphire. This modern architecture with its striking red accents is designed to be admired from both sides.
Transparency is the keynote
Framing fascinating glimpses of its sophisticated technical nature, this sturdy stainless steel chronograph catches the gaze in order to draw it into the very heart of a cutting-edge Zenith mechanism. The crystal-clear sapphire dial features two transparent blue- and grey-tinted counters – the aesthetic signature of the original 1969 model – and shows the moon & sunphases on twin discs at 6 o’clock. A silver-toned inner bezel ring surrounded by a blue ring, a black and white minute scale, along with luminescent facetted hands and hour-markers, all contribute to ensuring optimal legibility, yet without obscuring the view of the fascinating inner workings. The large date at 2 o’clock – shown by two concentric discs with cut-out numerals – is read off against a bright red background in an engraved aperture, while the slim red-tipped central sweep-seconds hand adorned with the emblematic Zenith star sweeps over this perfectly clear display.
To start with, the dial is no longer black like the traditional version or even silver like the Jack Heuer Edition, but a beautiful cream color dial that I have in no way witnessed on a TAG Heuer. The color and texture are milky white, and really remind me of one thing like you’d find on a 6239 Daytona that has a serial variety in the 9xx,xxx range. You know the watches, they look like this. The lume plots on this dial and on these hands are again darker than what we’ve observed on other Autavias, and they complement well.
The race of time
Topped by a domed crystal and fitted with a sapphire crystal case-back, the 45 mm-diameter case – water-resistant to 100 metres – reveals on both sides the outlines of an in-house ‘engine’ with legendary origins. The El Primero integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph beats at the fiery pace of 5 Hz, thereby ensuring and displaying 1/10th second precision. These sterling attributes are inherited from its illustrious predecessor, the world’s most accurate series-made chronograph developed by Zenith and presented in 1969.
Spotlight on the high-frequency oscillations of El Primero Calibre 4047B! Equipped with a silicon lever and escape-wheel, this 332-part movement drives central hours and minutes hands, along with small seconds, chronograph, large date, moon & sunphase functions, while maintaining an over 50-hour power reserve. The celestial kinetic ballet is shown on two superimposed discs, with the moon disc rotating every 59 days (two lunar cycles) and the day/night disc making one full turn in 24 hours.
The impressive stature of the Chronomaster El Primero Grande Date Full Open, complete with its fluted crown and double round pushers, is further enhanced by a steel bracelet or a black leather rubber-lined strap. Another version is available with a two-tone exterior (stainless steel case with a pink gold bezel), teamed with a chestnut leather strap.