Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

The Dark Side Of The El Primero – The Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton

| By Xavier Markl | 2 min read |
Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton

Among the novelties presented by Zenith at Baselworld 2016 were two open-worked versions of the El Primero Chronograph, revealing a side of this iconic movement we are not used to seeing. The first is a “simple” chronograph while the other is regulated by a Tourbillon. As both models are now available internationally from the Le Locle-based manufacture, we though it the perfect time for Monochrome to take a closer look at the Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton.

Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton

The launch of a new El Primero chronograph is not really news in and of itself. We have to say though that this latest interpretation, fashioned from black ceramic and revealing the intricate mechanism beneath, is particularly impressive. The black monochrome aesthetic from Zenith is a bold, modern statement giving the watch a highly technical look.

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The movement combines an integrated chronograph and a tourbillon running at 36,000 vibrations per hour (or 5Hz) – the use of high-frequency being even more impressive in this context given the presence of a tourbillon. The technical treatment of the Calibre 4035 creates a stunning sensation of depth, using contrasts between light and dark to dramatic effect. The tourbillon is off-set at 11 o’clock however this time there is no date on the periphery, unlike the previously released Zenith El Primero Tourbillon in Titanium.

Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton

Two open-work chronograph counters are applied at 3 and 6 o’clock. Raised letter engravings form the words “Zenith” and “El Primero”. The only color accents are on the chronograph hands for enhanced legibility whilst the stealth hour and minute hands are ruthenium plated and coated with black SuperLuminova.

Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton

Deep black, the elements of the 45mm ceramic case blend perfectly into one another. The rear of the watch reveals the intricate column-wheel chronograph mechanism, which features an attractive modern finishing achieved through the use of contrasting shades of grey. For more information, please visit

Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton

The Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton is worn on a sporty perforated rubber strap with triple folding buckle. It is available now and is priced at 49,000 Swiss Francs, which, for a high-frequency tourbillon and integrated automatic chronograph (and a pretty iconic one at that), seems excellent value for money.

Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton

Technical specifications of the Zenith El Primero Tourbillon skeleton

  • Case: 45 mm x 14.65mm – ceramic – sapphire crystal with antireflective coating – Sapphire case back – Water resistant to 50m.
  • Movement: El Primero tourbillon 4035B with automatic winding – 50h power reserve – 35 jewels – 36,000 vibrations/h – hours, minutes, seconds, chronograph and one-minute tourbillon.
  • Strap: perforated black rubber on titanium-PVD folding buckle
  • Reference: 49.2520.4035/98.R576
  • Price: 49,000 CHF

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