The Zenith Chronomaster, in any shape or form, is one of the most enduring and captivating chronograph watches available today. With a history stemming back to 1969 when the brand introduced the El Primero movement, it is loved and cherished by many. In recent times Zenith has put in great strides to update the legendary El Primero architecture, primarily with the El Primero 3600 calibre. This has been the star of stand-out watches like the Chronomaster Sport and Chronomaster Original, presented in multiple iterations. Collaborating with our friends and colleagues of Hodinkee, Zenith has now created a special limited edition of the Chronomaster Original, based on the original A386 reference. Here’s the Zenith Chronomaster Original for Hodinkee.
The story of the El Primero chronograph movement by Zenith is well-documented, and rightfully so as it marks a historical chapter in watchmaking. Back in 1969 Zenith introduced the very first integrated automatic chronograph movement, and apply named it El Primero, the first one. We know the fact who actually was first is somewhat debatable, but we’re not going to explain every detail right now. What is beyond a shadow of a doubt, the references A384, A385 and even more so the A386 became true horological icons.
From the outside, the Zenith Chronomaster Original for Hodinkee relies on the same architecture as we’ve seen in the 2021 editions of the Chronomaster Original. This means we once more find the very pleasantly proportioned 38mm wide stainless steel case, an almost exact copy of the case design of the legendary A386. It’s topped with a raised and domed sapphire crystal, which means the Chronomaster Original comes in at 12.6mm in height. The bezel-less construction gives way to the dial as much as possible, which we’ll get to shortly. On the right-hand side, we see simple pump-style pushers and a knurled crown, just as the original A386 had.
Speaking of the dial, this is where the Zenith Chronomaster Original for Hodinkee mixes things up. Most of you know we’re quite fond of salmon-coloured dials and admittedly the Salmon Opaline dial of this limited edition was a bit unexpected but works very well! The combination of the warm pink-ish tone and signature three-coloured grey overlapping sub-dials is striking, to say the least. The faceted hour markers and hands are given a good dose of Super-LumiNova. A feature not to be overlooked is the colour-matching date wheel revealed by the window at 4:30, often a point of debate for many enthusiasts and collectors (to match, or not to match).
Movement-wise, nothing has changed from the previous versions of the Chronomaster Original. It comes with the El Primero 3600 Calibre, capable of measuring elapsed time down to 1/10th of a second. This integrated high-beat column-wheel chronograph movement runs at a rate of 36,000vph and provides a very healthy 60 hours of running time. The chronograph function runs directly off the silicon escape wheel and not the movement’s fourth wheel, a testament to Zenith’s engineering capabilities. The sapphire caseback reveals the Calibre El Primero 3600 in all its splendour, with a mix of finishes, and of course that star-shaped rotor.
The Zenith Chronomaster Original for Hodinkee comes on the familiar three-link stainless steel bracelet with a brushed and polished finish and is fitted to a double folding buckle. It is limited to 300 pieces, and exclusively available through the Hodinkee shop and Zenith’s online boutique.