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.
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