There’s a common saying that ‘car’ guys are ‘watch’ guys. Behind this aphorism though is a real connection fueled by the love of fine mechanics, performance and passion. As a result collaborations between watch and car manufacturers have flourished – for the better … or worse. Case in point, Zenith and Land Rover recently announced their first watch collaboration. Now regardless of what you think of such partnerships, you have to agree that this one stands out. For a start, Landrover is not just about performance and mechanics. Its go-anywhere, tow-anything cars are an expression of freedom – a philosophy that speaks to me more than turbo-charged engines. Secondly, the Zenith El Primero Range Rover is simply a superb (no-fuss) chronograph. Time for a hands-on look.
The Zenith El Primero Range Rover is a variation of the El Primero 36’000 VPH. Just like the vehicles of the British car maker, it is sophisticated and understated. Apart from a discreet Range Rover caption, Zenith has avoided any loud co-branding cues in favor of designing a sober, elegant special edition chronograph. The watch comes in a dynamic 42mm case with a box sapphire crystal and mushroom pushers. It is crafted in ceramised aluminum, a nod to the Range Rover chassis. The overall impression is one of urban stealth, in the spirit of modern Range Rovers rather than in that of the original rugged, off-road Land Rovers.
The anthracite three-counter dial features a smart brushed finish and faceted hour markers. The date is indicated at 6 o’clock in white on black as it should be (sometimes brands use standard white date discs regardless the color of the dial). The hour and minutes hands are rhodium coated with luminescent material inlays.
This special edition is powered by the 400B version of the iconic El Primero chronograph personalized with a ‘Range Rover’ engraving on the rotor. Introduced in 1969, El Primero was one of the very first automatic chronographs. It is an integrated construction with column-wheel and horizontal clutch. As it is operating at 36’000 vibrations/hours, the chronograph second hands performs 10 jumps per seconds marking off tenths of a second. Not surprisingly, given the automotive background of the watch, the chronograph is complemented by a tachymetric scale, discreetly transferred on the flange.
The Zenith El Primero Range Rover is worn on a black rubber strap coated with perforated white or grey calfskin similar to that of the latest Range Rovers. It is closed by a triple folding buckle in black-PVD titanium.
The El Primero 36’000 VPH is one of our favorite Zenith watches. The restrained and thoughtful customization performed with Range Rover has not changed our minds about this – even if we are not always fans of ‘co-branded’ or ‘partnership’ models. With its reasonable size and super-light material, it is comfortable on the wrist. The El Primero engine inside ensures there is more than enough power under the hood and at € 8,900 EURO (£7,200 GBP for the UK) we think it’s fairly priced too.
Specifications of the Zenith El Primero Range Rover
- Case: 42mm x 12.75mm– ceramicised aluminum – domed sapphire crystal with antireflective treatment – case-back with sapphire crystal -100m water resistant
- Movement: calibre El Primero 400B in-house integrated chronograph with automatic winding – 50h power reserve – 13’’’ ¼ – 31 jewels – 36’000 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, small seconds, date and chronograph
- Strap: black rubber coated with perforated calfskin strap with black-PVD titanium triple folding buckle
- Reference 24.2040.400/27.R797
- Price: € 8,900 EURO (including VAT)