Monochrome Watches
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Zenith Gives its Chronomaster Original a Black Tricolour Dial

Zenith's iconic high-frequency chronograph gets a dark dial to offset its tricolour counters.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 2 min read |
Zenith Chronomaster Original Black Tricolour Dial

The A386 is the most emblematic reference from Zenith’s 1969 trilogy of watches showcasing the brand’s El Primero high-frequency chronograph movement. The only round-shaped case in the original line-up, now known as the Chronomaster Original, its distinctive tricolour sub-counters have become a brand signature. Exchanging the more traditional silvery-white dial for black, the latest Zenith Chronomaster Original dons a dark stage for the tricolour counters giving this classic a more contemporary vibe.

The story of the race to produce the world’s first automatic chronograph and facts about Zenith’s El Primero calibre have been told many times. Among the three 1969 watches powered by the El Primero calibre, the A386 became the template for the 2021 Chronomaster Original with overt vintage design cues and modern mechanics.

Zenith Chronomaster Original Black Tricolour Dial
The new Black Tricolour dial joins the classic Silver Tricolour dial.

Marking a first, the new Chronomaster Original flaunts a black tricolour dial. It’s worth noting that it is not the first time it features a black dial. In 2021, the line-up included a black panda dial with white counters; the difference here is that the background is black, but the three overlapping sub-dials display the classic (dare I say emblematic) blue, grey and silver colours – running seconds at 9 o’clock,  60-second register and 60-min register at 3 and 6 o’clock, respectively. Incorporating a dark stage meant changing the colour of the inner scale from black to white and the external 1/10th of a second scale from white to black. The trapezoid date window at 4:30 was also changed to feature a black background.

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Apart from the black dial, the furnishings are faithful to the original with period fonts and logos, applied hour markers and hands with Super-LumiNova and the bright red central chronograph seconds hand, which races around the dial in 10 seconds.

Using digital scans of the 1969 model, the round case of the Chronomaster Original measures 38mm and features the sharp faceted lugs, the pump-style pushers, the mix of radial-brushed and polished surfaces and the practically non-existent bezel of the A386. Protected by a raised, domed sapphire crystal, the thickness of the case is 12.9mm, and its water-resistance rating is 50m.

Zenith Chronomaster Original Black Tricolour Dial

Powered by the modernised El Primero 3600 calibre with a column wheel and horizontal coupling, the 5Hz frequency offers 1/10th of a second indications, and its autonomy reaches 60 hours. The sapphire display window reveals the contemporary architecture of the movement with its blue column wheel and new openworked star-shaped rotor.

Availability & Price

The new Zenith Chronomaster Original Black Tricolour dial joins the permanent collection and retails for CHF 9,900 on a steel bracelet and CHF 9,400 on a black calfskin strap with a folding clasp.

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3 responses

  1. When they released the Chronograph 2 years ago, I thought it was the best chrono release in years.

    Now its even better, the tri-colour sub-dials look even more perfect against the black dial.

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