If you don’t know SJX Watches yet (which I doubt), well you certainly should. One of the most respected watch media, SJX (the initials of Jiaxian SU, founder of the website), is someone I’d call a genuine nerd in the best possible meaning of this word. Technical and knowledgeable, SJX is a must-read that is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Following two dedicated “celebration watches” already – by Habring² and Kudoke – SJX is now revealing a very special, bold and unique model made together with Zenith. Loosely based on the disco-era El Primero G383, the new Zenith x SJX Chronomaster Revival Poker Chip is a collaborative effort that will be initially offered on the SJX website before being available through Zenith.
This new Chronomaster Revival Poker Chip is a watch that pays tribute to one of Zenith’s quirkiest designs, the G383, “a truly funky watch with a design that is unmistakably of the late 1960s and 1970s – the dial is over the top and truly disco” says Jiaxian, adding that it is “one of my favourite vintage Zenith models“. But SJX wasn’t so much about a faithful, 1-to-1 re-edition of this watch that, apart from its pretty interesting dial design, is not the best looking when it comes to the case – which is gold and features very small lugs. SJX worked with Romain Marietta, Zenith’s head of product development, to create a watch that brings the same disco flair yet with a more modern appeal.
The base for this Zenith Chronomaster Revival Poker Chip is the well-known modern interpretation of the A386 found on this model here. That means a nicely shaped case with historical relevance and a compact 38mm diameter. For the first time, though, it is made of micro-blasted titanium with “a fine, dark grey finish that’s then enhanced with a coating that increases its wear resistance and also helps prevents fingerprints from showing“. The watch is worn on a black fabric strap, but an additional strap of fabric impregnated with Super-Luminova – so the entire strap glows – is also included.
Under the sapphire caseback is the most classic of Zenith’s movements, the El Primero calibre 400. The reason for choosing this specific movement is based on its historical relevance – the same movement was used in the G383 – but also, according to SJX, “the gentle irony of having reimagined the aesthetics of a vintage watch but retaining the same movement“. The movement is the classic 5Hz automatic chronograph with integrated architecture, column wheel and horizontal clutch. And this 400 version is the closest you can get to the calibre presented in 1969.
And now to the main attraction, the dial. The modern-day Chronomaster Revival Poker Chip takes on the style of the G383 and transforms it into something more contemporary, more accessible too, but still recognisable as a Poker Chip. The dial is rendered in dark grey and then sectored into matte black segments with Super-Luminova patterns on top, reproducing the layout of the vintage original. All the cream-yellow coloured elements are, in addition to the indexes and hands, luminous. Note that SJX went for smaller counters that do not overlap anymore.
Availability & Price
The Zenith x SJX Chronomaster Revival Poker Chip will be a limited edition of 200 pieces. It will be exclusively available from SJX Watches for a month and then subsequently from Zenith boutiques around the world, as well as its online store. Price is USD 10,000 or CHF 9,900. You can purchase an example by expressing your interest here.
Photos by watchesbysjx.com.