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Zenith El Primero

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Zenith El Primero

The El Primero is suitably named considering it was the first automatic chronograph movement to be presented to the watch market in 1969 by renowned Manufacture Zenith. Today, the work of the El Primero collection is eponymous with unparalleled precision and quality.

The legendary El Primero Calibre

A Revolution in the world of watches

The Swiss watch manufacturer Zenith is based in Le Locle and has produced quality timepiece for over 150 years. Zenith watches are renowned for their excellent and innovative mechanics. The factory from Switzerland continues to prove time and again that a passion and a pioneering spirit for watchmaking are the leading philosophies of the distinguished Zenith brand.

In 1969, Zenith released the world’s first automatic chronograph movement with an integrated movement construction. Suitably, Zenith named the innovative movement with the name El Primero – meaning ‘the first’ in Esperanto. The pioneering features of the El Primero took seven years to develop. The overall structure of the movement is comprised of a column wheel and a central rotor mounted on ball bearings.

The original ambition behind the El Primero was to create an iconic timepiece that could be presented to watch lovers worldwide on the 100th anniversary of Zenith, which became a Manufactory in 1965. A revolution in the watch industry, the El Primero impresses with a tempo of 36,000 vibrations per hour and is therefore distinguished as the most precise timepiece available to the watch loving market. The movement of the El Primero testifies to the craftsmanship and longevity of Zenith timepieces, which have been continually developed and improved over the years. The name Zenith is now recognised worldwide, due in part to the impressive development of the El Primero movement. The El Primero watch line is now one of the most important collections from the watch brand and stands for the unyielding development and advancement of the company.

Zenith El Primero

A first-class watch movement

The original Zenith El Primero timepieces can be distinguished by a characteristic date display that is located at the 4 o’clock position – a feature that the watch connoisseur will quite easily recognise. Unlike ordinary works that function at a speed of 28,800 vibrations per hour, the El Primero movement impresses with a cadence of 36,000 vibrations per hour. This means that the seconds hand advances ten times per second as opposed to the usual eight. Thanks to the innovative movement, the El Primero collection stands for outstanding precision that can accurately measure time to 1/10th of a second. Furthermore, the timepiece features a power reserve of over 50 hours.

The El Primero chronograph is manufactured with an impressive attention to detail. The column wheel, for example, is made out of tungsten carbide. Due to the high rate of vibration, the timepiece must be able to resists friction. Zenith, therefore, uses a special lubricant that is molybdenum sulphide based. Zenith is continually exploring ways to improve the performance of the movement and reduce the wear of the mechanical components to a minimum. Furthermore, the chronograph functions of the movement have been steadily simplified, including the 2012 Chronograph Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 that is equipped with a silicon escape wheel and lever.

El Primero

The most precise series in the chronograph world

The El Primero is known worldwide not only as one of the most precise movements but is also distinguished thanks to the continual advancement of the movement parts and overall functionality of the timepiece. The award-winning models from the series take an average of 9-months to construct. The timepiece is created by 2500 different operations and passes through the hands of 300 experienced hands. In total, the timepiece is comprised of 18 high-quality metals.

Free spirited creativity and long-standing expertise have resulted in the current El Primero collection, which shines with the knowledgeable experience of the traditional watch manufacturer Zenith. All variants of the El Primero calibre are integrally constructed and beat with a remarkably high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour. The El Primero watch models stand out not only due to their technical innovations but also thanks to their sophisticated aesthetics. The dial of the El Primero is bursting with character. With optimal readability and striking touches of colour, the models from the El Primero collection are instantly recognised. Decades after the introduction of the collection, the timepiece models remain relevant to current standards and are impressively able to measure short times to a tenth of a second – a milestone in the history of watchmaking.

Timekeeping in sports

The Zenith brand is exemplified by an unmistakable star logo, which is quite suitable considering that the brand has gone down in history as an official sponsor and timekeeper of the unparalleled Red Bull Stratos journey. Famous Australian skydiver and BASE jumper Felix Baumgartner took a plunge from the stratosphere with an El Primero Stratos Flyback strapped around his wrist. The timepiece was the first of its kind to be able to withstand the supersonic velocity at the edge of space. The Chronograph Christophe Colomb Academy Tribute to Felix Baumgartner with reliable El Primero movement is dedicated to the exceptional Australian sportsman. The timepiece is equipped with a unique dial that is comprised of turquoise and aventurine, with a pictorial representation of Felix Baumgartner's jump.

Zenith is the official timekeeper of the Spindrift Racing team, which regularly takes part in the sailing regatta Route du Rhum. This extraordinary event is celebrated with a special edition of the Zenith El Primero chronograph. The dial of the timepiece surprises with restraint elegance and allows for the wearer of the watch to gain a deeper insight into the high-art of watchmaking. Furthermore, the chronograph is a coveted collectors item thanks to Spindrift Racing lettering that is engraved on the oscillating weight of the watch.