Zenith El Primero A386 Revival

Zenith Revives Its Original El Primero A386 Watch from 1969


March 21, 2019 Watches By

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Price: ~$19,900
Availability: 50 pieces for each version; Summer 2019
Case Dimensions: 38mm
Water-Resistance: 100m
Movement & Winding: In-house Zenith El Primero 400 Automatic
Power Reserve: 50 hours

Quick Take: The Zenith El Primero A386 Revival watch is meant to be a faithful recreation of the El Primero, a watch that resulted from a multi-brand race to build the world’s first automatic chronograph. The El Primero stood out from amongst several contenders, operating at an unusually high frequency of 5Hz. The new version is probably as close to the original you can reasonably get with modern specs and tech, though the El Primero A386 Revival is released as a trio of models, limited to 50 pieces each in a different shade of gold: white, yellow, and rose.

Who It’s For: The Zenith El Primero is a popular watch, and there will be collectors who will lament that the Revival sold out too fast, and more who lament the lack of a version in steel. Zenith does have a modern collection that is pretty true to the original, but many particularly appreciate things like the historically accurate 38mm sizing of the El Primero A386 Revival. Hopefully, a steel 38mm version is in our future.

Key Features: Zenith says that it reverse-engineered an original 1969 watch by digitizing and reproducing each component. The materials of the modern version are different, with gold cases and sapphire crystals, but in most respects everything from the measurements to the fonts are the same, with many very subtle elements that differentiate it from the modern collection. Another difference from the original is that the El Primero A386 Revival’s case back window reveals the famous movement inside.

The El Primero 400 automatic chronograph movement is an evolution of the movement from 1969, but with modern updates. It still beats at 5Hz, of course, and has a power reserve of 50 hours. These limited editions of 50 pieces each will come with a 50-year guarantee from the brand and will have a price of around $19,900 each.

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