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5 Modern Zenith Watches to Consider for Your Collection

From the famous El Primero chronographs to vintage-styled pilot watches and more, here are five great options from one of the most notable Swiss luxury watchmakers.

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With a history dating back to 1865, Zenith is one of the most prominent Swiss luxury watchmakers. Though the brand has had a number of notable models throughout its history, it's the El Primero automatic chronograph movement introduced in 1969 that defines the modern company. With its desirable column wheel and vertical clutch (lending it smooth operation) and its uncharacteristically high frequency of 5Hz, it still powers many of Zenith's most popular models.

Technical innovation didn't stop in 1969 with the El Primero, however, as Zenith has continued to introduce groundbreaking technology alongside its traditional in-house movements. Today under the LVMH Group, the Zenith collection ranges from heritage-inspired to edgy and aggressive, hyper-modern sport watches. Below are five absolutely killer options to consider for a modern collection.

Zenith El Primero A384 Revival

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The first watch that introduced the famous El Primero movement looked like this — almost exactly like this. Zenith introduced its A384 Revival in 2019 for the 50th anniversary of the the El Primero with a faithful recreation that's accurate right down to its moderate sizing at 36mm wide. It not only represents a significant milestone for the brand and the industry at large, but it makes for a strikingly unique appeal on the modern wrist.

Diameter: 36mm
Movement: El Primero Caliber 400
Water Resistance: 50mm

Buy Now: $7,700

Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special

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Referencing the historic pilot's watches Zenith produced in the 20th century, the Type 20 Extra Special has a classic but rugged appeal. Modern versions had often come in large (sometimes very large) cases, but here at a moderate 40mm the look and story of these watches is accessible to many more wrists. Housed in an aged-metal case, it's powered by a Zenith in-house automatic movement.

Diameter: 40mm
Movement: Zenith Elite Caliber 679
Water Resistance: 100m

Buy Now: $5,700

Zenith Elite 6150

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Hodinkee Shop

For something classical, formal and absolutely solid, it's tough to beat the Zenith Elite 6150. Though boldly sized for a dress watch at 42mm, it has a handsome elegance and is powered by an in-house automatic movement that's visible through a display case back and offers an impressive 100-hour power reserve. The simple layout is deceptive, as it houses impressive tech and refined details.

Diameter: 42mm
Movement: Zenith Elite Caliber 6150
Water Resistance: 100m

Buy Now: $6,700

Zenith El Primero 36,000 VpH

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Hodinkee Shop

The El Primero line of watches is most familiar in this modern form as a sporty chronograph with its overlapping subdials. Packing a high-frequency (36,000 vibrations per hour, or 5Hz) movement inside, its aesthetics — from the handset and indices to its overlapping dials — show great continuity with some of the earliest El Primero watches. Here, however, it takes on a slightly sleeker look, with a black ceramized aluminum case and contrasting ("panda") subdials.

Diameter: 42mm
Movement: Zenith El Primero 400B Caliber
Water Resistance: 100m

Buy Now: $8,700

Zenith Heritage 146

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Powered by another modern version of the El Primero, the Heritage 146 offers an interesting combination of features with its clean, '60s-inspired dial. It's pure class and simplicity up front, with a sunburst-textured brown dial and only two subdials, but around back you've got a full view of the complicated movement. In this form, the El Primero offers only a 30-minute chronograph counter (at 3 o'clock), whereas the 9 o'clock subdial is for the main time's seconds.

Diameter: 38mm
Movement: Zenith El Primero 4069 Automatic
Water Resistance: 100m

Buy Now: $6,700

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