Zenith's most recognizable look is that of the A386 watch from 1969. It's what many people imagine when they hear the words "El Primero," and its basic design has often been part of the brand's modern lineup — but never quite what fans of the original were after. Finally, Zenith is rectifying the situation with a modern watch that's not a limited edition — and is about as close to the A386 as anyone could reasonably hope for.
While watches with a similar design featuring the distinctive, overlapping tri-color subdials were long available, they had some contemporary tweaks. Then, the brand released a full-on remake in 2019 — but as a limited edition and in precious metals only. Why do they tease us so!?
Not to worry, though, because now you can have your $9,000 cake and eat it too. The new Chronomaster Original brings all the little details of the vintage model back: there's the retro, bezel-less case at an ideal 38mm sizing, and even finishing that recalls that of the A386. (Hardcore fans will notice tiny differences in the modern version: the shape of the seconds hand, logo and bracelet, and of course, modern materials like sapphire crystal and the contemporary version of the El Primero automatic chronograph movement, the Caliber 3600.) The movement is a big part of this watch's story, and unlike on the original, it's on display through the case back.
The Chronomaster Original is available in three versions at launch, with steel options in the classic tri-color configuration or a reverse-panda option with a black dial and contrasting silver subdials. Both look awesome and both are available with steel bracelet for $9,000 or on a strap for $8,400. There's also tri-color version in rose gold on a strap that'll set you back $19,100. If it's in your budget, the only problem now is choosing between this and the (also) highly compelling Chronomaster Revival line.