Zenith Updates a Classic Chronograph Watch With a Modern Movement

A timely tribute to the world’s first high-frequency automatic chronograph watch.

Zenith

In 1969, luxury Swiss watchmaker Zenith launched a trio of references packing the revolutionary El Primero caliber, the world’s first high-frequency automatic chronograph. And since the horological innovation’s 50th anniversary, we’ve seen a number of faithful reissues enter Zenith’s permanent collection, this Chronomaster Original being the latest.  

Zenith

It’s based on the A386, which stands out from the A384 and A385 with a tricolor dial featuring a trapezoid date window at the 04:30 position and red second hand. These elements, along with a bezel-less 38mm case, raised domed crystal, pump-style pushers, and faceted lugs have all been retained to preserve the stylistic spirit of the original 1969 release. 

Zenith

What’s new is the cutting-edge El Primero 3600 movement, which boasts a 60-hour power reserve and accuracy to 1/10th of a second thanks to a high frequency of 5 Hz (36,000 VpH). The new architecture’s blue column wheel and Zenith star-marked open rotor are viewable through a sapphire caseback. 

Zenith

The timepiece’s contemporary precision is reflected in the black inner scale surrounding the dial, with a chronograph hand that indicates 100 distinct time units over a total rotation of 10 seconds. 

Zenith

Three colorways are available, with the steel-cased blue and gray version being the closest to the original A386. Another steel-cased model in a “reverse panda” black and silver scheme provides an understated option, while the third gets an 18K gold case to accompany the dial’s classic hues. All are available with steel bracelets or color-matched calfskin straps. 

Priced from $8,400 to $19,100, the Zenith Chronomaster Original collection is available to purchase now. 

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Maxim Staff