Zenith’s El Primero pieces hold a special place in the hearts of all watch fans. We love it when a brand gets there first and that’s precisely what the El Primero line represents. Hell, it’s what the Spanish phrase literally means – ‘first’. In 1969 Zenith debuted the iconic innovation, making the world’s first-ever automatic chronograph movement, and since that fateful day, the maison and its El Primero calibre watches have been inseparable. This stunning new Zenith Chronomaster Open brilliantly showcases the iconic movement and offers views through both the front and back of the watch. It’s a delight for existing Zenith devotees and will appeal to those new to the brand too.
This exciting release slots neatly into the current Chronomaster lineup and sits between the more complex Chronomaster Sport and the straightforward Chronomaster Original. Marketed as a boutique-exclusive edition, the Chronomaster Open revamps the tri-colour dial layout of the ’60s but with the third sub-dial now cut away. The brilliant blue dial, with each sub-dial individually coloured, references Zenith’s house style and is in keeping with the current collection.
Where this model excels is in the masterful way that the design focuses your attention on the beating heart of the watch. It’s a modern iteration of the movement that earned Zenith a place in watchmaking history, and as expected, it’s the star of the show. From the front, you can take a peek at the star-shaped silicon escape wheel as it turns, and if you appreciate intricate engineering, then you’ll be fascinated by the hypnotic movement of a mechanical watch in action.
The attention paid to the movement is even more apparent at the rear, with the sapphire crystal exhibition back offering an even better view of the movement in action. Designed to capture your attention, the movement features an open section, cut away to enhance the view of the mechanics below. The rota – also open – features the signature star motif, and if you want the details, you’ll also see “the high-frequency 5Hz escapement with lubricant-free silicon escape wheel and pallet lever”.
Of course, as much as we marvel at the mechanics of this watch, the overall aesthetics are just as important. Sticking with a tried and tested look, the Chronomaster Open is faithful to the collection’s vintage-inspired style. But in acknowledgement of the current trend for modest-sized watches, it features a smaller 39.5mm case with slim lugs.
The Zenith Chronomaster Open Boutique Edition offers a trimmed-down and modern interpretation of an iconic watch and is available to buy now.
Zenith Chronomaster Open Ref 03.3300.3604/51.M3300
Case: Stainless Steel
Movement: El Primero 3604 Automatic
Bracelet: Stainless Steel with Double Folding Clasp
Water Resistance: 100M
Price: AUD $14,300