As Xavier reported a week ago, cartoon and comic character watches are all the rage in high-end watchmaking. Emblazoned with characters from pop culture, you can enjoy anything from Snoopy dressed as an astronaut to a 3D Black Panther from Marvel animating your dial. Three years ago, Zenith launched an unprecedented version of its Chronomaster A384 inspired by the Japanese manga and anime series Lupin the Third. However, unlike the models covered in Xavier’s article, the watch does not feature any of the characters from Lupin the Third on the dial. Instead, it is inspired by a chronograph worn by Daisuke Jigen, Lupin’s sidekick and expert marksman. Created by Monkey Punch (Kazuhiko Katō) in the late 1960s, Daisuke Jigen is dressed in tight-fitting suits with bellbottoms and the latest accessories; in this case, a watch that is unmistakably modelled after the Zenith El Primero chronograph, the first high-frequency chronograph produced in 1969. Now in its third reincarnation, the latest Lupin the Third marks the final edition of this novel series – limited to 250 pieces – and features a striking four-tone panda dial and a titanium case.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the El Primero in 2019, Zenith decided to have some fun and brought a fictional watch featured in Lupin the Third to life. The silhouette of the watch depicted in Lupin the Third and the pump-style pushers and crown watch were obviously inspired by Zenith’s A384, but the black background, grey counters and gilt markings were a colour scheme Zenith had never used before. Zenith’s second Lupin the Third was another panda chronograph with a white background and black counters. The third and final Lupin chronograph is a fusion of the two earlier watches.
Unlike the first two Lupin models, the tonneau-shaped 37mm case of the third edition is titanium. However, just like the El Primero A384 Revival watch of 2019, reproduced with exacting detail thanks to a process of ‘reverse engineering ’, this third Zenith Chronomaster Lupin the Third model is a faithful recreation of the 1969 model with a colour palette inspired by two different watches worn by Daisuke Jigen. To retain the original 37mm diameter and 12.60mm height of the case, Zenith decided to use the same base movement of the original in all its A384 Revival models. The prominent hexagonal bezel is brushed, and the facets are polished, and the original ladder bracelet designed by Gay Frères for the 1969 A384 has been recreated with its open central links that look like the rungs of a ladder.
The dial is cut diametrically (from 2 to 7 o’clock) and features the black and grey colour scheme of the first Chronomaster Revival Lupin the Third watch in the upper segment and the white and black colour scheme of the second watch in the lower one. Creating a dial with such radical contrasts was a challenge. The small seconds counter at 9 o’clock belongs to the darker half of the dial and is grey with a gold-plated hand, while the chronograph counters – 30-min at 3 and 12-hour at 6 o’clock – belong to the creamy-white portion of the dial and are black with white hands. Following the two distinct colour schemes, the tachymetre scale is split into grey and white section. The applied and faceted indices are gold-plated in the black section and rhodium-plated in the white area, all coated with beige Super-LumiNova. The date indication at 4:30 is highlighted with a black background, identical to the one on Daisuke Jigen’s fictional watch.
El Primero 400 Automatic
The movement is an updated version of the famous 1969 El Primero calibre, an automatic column-wheel chronograph with a high frequency of 36,000vph/5Hz and a 50-hour power reserve. With improved reliability and chronometric precision thanks to tighter tolerances in the manufacturing process, the movement is still very close to its original architecture.
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Availability and Price
The final edition of the Zenith Chronomaster Revival Lupin the Third is limited to 250 pieces and retails for CHF 9,900.
More information at Zenith-watches.com.