El Primero G381

This Sporty Zenith Chronograph Watch Recreates a Vintage Icon


August 21, 2019 Watches By
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In 1969, alongside other watchmaking milestones, Zenith introduced the famous El Primero chronograph movement. It was featured in several watches that year, and its modern form still powers Zenith watches — including some that are fairly consistent with the best-known early models. For the movement’s 50th anniversary this year, Zenith has already released faithful reissues of the A386 and an even more retro-styled A384 Revival.

Now, with input from the folks at the watch enthusiast website Hodinkee, the brand has revived a distinctive El Primero from 1969, known as the G381 Revival Limited Edition in its 2019 incarnation. Sold exclusively through Zenith’s online shop, it’s meant to be about as accurate a recreation as possible, right down to the 38mm sizing of the 1969 original — which was on the large side for the time, but is comfortable for wrists accustomed to modern sizes today.

Coming in an 18K yellow gold case that’s 50m water-resistant, the dial features contrasty “panda”-style (black on white) subdials and gold highlights. It’s powered by the modern El Primero 400 automatic chronograph movement, which operates at a high frequency of 5Hz and offers around 50 hours of power reserve. Unlike the watches of decades ago, the movement is on display via a sapphire crystal case back.

The new Zenith El Primero Revival G381 Limited Edition is only being produced in a run of 50 pieces, for a price of $19,200 each.

Gear Patrol also recommends:
TAG Heuer Heritage Calibre Heuer 02 Chronograph Watch ($5,300)
Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch ($5,350)
IWC Portugieser Chronograph Watch ($7,600)
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Zen Love

Zen Love is Gear Patrol’s watch writer. He avoids the snooty side of the watch world, and seeks out food in NYC that resembles what he loved while living in Asia for over a decade.

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