Incepted in the year 1865, Zenith has been consistent in delivering an exquisite blend of style and substance ever since its debut. Holding a legacy of 150 years, Zenith is highly renowned for its precision Zenith chronometers. Moreover, the launch of its legendary Zenith El Primero calibre took Zenith watches to new heights of success.
History of Zenith Chronomaster
Zenith- a brand with pride, style and innovation. Zenith hit the arena of watch manufacturing in the year 1865, traversing a long haul journey of almost 150 years. When the world saw the Russians and Americans compete to put their men in space, the watch industry witnessed a completely different scenario - everyone was sprinting to achieve the landmark of debuting first automatic chronograph. Many top watch brands were working day and night to strike the markets with newer innovations to achieve a monopoly in the watch arena.
But the watch brand which finally struck the said achievement was -Zenith. It was the watch brand which created the first automatic chronograph. There have been a lot of debates ruling over the creator of the first automatic chronograph. No matter how many discussions might have ruled, but to ascertain the fact, Zenith was the creator of the very first Swiss-made, fully integrated automatic chronograph — the Zenith El Primero. Much of Zenith's success came with the debut of this legendary calibre, which featured an integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph movement.
This Zenith automatic chronograph movement was unveiled in the year 1969 and its iconic high-frequency movement had the capability of beating 36,000 vibrations per hour, enabling precise time measurements which were nearly accurate to the 1/10th of a second.
The Voyage of Zenith Chronomaster
The year 1969 was a major turning point for many of the watch brands including Seiko. After the debut in 1969, many of the Seiko's calibres went out of production which included calibre 6139 and Caliber 11. A similar fate followed the Zenith, in the year 1975 Zenith El Primero went out of production. And this happened because Zenith Radio Corporation wanted to switch its focus on the production of quartz movements. The Zenith El Primero was confined to shelves and this was the time when Zenith witnessed a steep downfall. However, till 1983, Zenith continued to accept the orders by meeting the demands through old stocks. Following this trend and owing to its popularity, Zenith El Primero came back in production just after a couple of years. Its reincarnation, a decade after its original launch, was enough to prove that it was the watch of the era that held the integral position in the heart of every watch lover. This was the initiation of a new journey for the brand as it started the development of Zenith El Primero powered references.
The launch of Zenith El Primero chronomaster was revolutionary in the realms of watch manufacturing. This is all because of the fact that unlike other chronometers it featured a column wheel chronograph with a tri-compax layout which was very rare to find in other watch brands. In spite of being aware of the fact that production of column wheel was more complicated and labour-intensive as compared cam-actuated chronographs, which other brands resorted to, Zenith chose to continue on the same path. It kept on making column wheel chronograph which clearly demonstrates the dedication Zenith held in manufacturing the El Primeros.
Ever since its debut El Primero has been a tough competitor for other watch brands. While other mechanical watches beat at the rate of eight ticks per second, the Zenith El Primero makes 10 ticks per second. Thus, this is the reason for this quirky watch movement being named as a high-beat movement. These high movements were a distant dream during the 1969's and even today they are very rare to be found yet Zenith was able to achieve this feat.
Moreover, with higher speed and precision, the Zenith El Primero also exhibited great resistance to wear and tear on the escapement. For this Zenith developed special lubricants that would hold the El Primero firmly on the wrist. Further to embellish it with simplicity Zenith made the use of a 50-hour power reserve mainspring. Additionally, to embellish it with more sophistication the Zenith El Primero is an open heart watch ie it displays a hole on the dial for revealing the balance assembly underside.
These were the decisions which enabled Zenith to reach the heights of success. Thus, the Zenith El Primero was the catalyst in building the brand’s reputation.
The New Zenith El Primero
The resurrection of Zenith Chronomaster in the luxury watch market garnered the attention of luxury group conglomerate LVMH. As a result of this - in the year 1999, Zenith decided to get associated with it by uniting with the LVMH portfolio of watchmakers which even incorporated its former Chronomatic contender TAG Heuer. After its revival, El Primero has been consistent in Zenith's line of production. Today the Zenith El Primero is available in 23 variants. Ever since its inception, the El Primero watch has been carrying its original design and style, exception being, changes were only induced in its material and production techniques. The Zenith El Primero has stood the test of time very efficaciously. This fully integrated watch is a complete package, being embedded with the most critical automatic chronograph calibre ever created. Dominating the watch world since 44 years, Zenith El Primero still remains a symbol of performance and continues to rule the hearts of watch enthusiasts.