Fitting of its name, Zenith has reached previously unexplored horological heights when it released the El Primero. It is probably the manufacture’s most famous release, except instead of being a timepiece, it is a movement; as many of you may probably know, this territory is often reserved for the select few, just the very best. Anyway, the El Primero bested other movements for being incredibly fast, beating at 5Hz while being an automatic chronograph movement. It is very technologically advanced, especially when it was released in 1969. In the 21st century, the movement is back and updated to be more ahead than the times, and can be witnessed in all its splendor through the Zenith Defy El Primero 21.
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Release date: 2017
Price: US$10,600 (non-skeletonized titanium), $11,600 (skeletonized titanium) or $12,600 (skeletonized ceramic-aluminum)
In the present times, Zenith is intent on maintaining its position as the lead in accuracy and precision. Introduced during the Baselworld 2017, the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 is even faster than its predecessor, way faster in fact, beating at 50Hz or 360,000 vibrations per hour, making it precise to a 100th of a second. The chronograph is offered in three options, all allowing you to witness and even listen to this impressive feat of engineering in varying degrees.
- Movement: Automatic El Primero 9004
- Frequency: 36,000vph/5Hz (watch), 360,000vph/50Hz (chronograph)
- Power reserve: ~50 hours
- Components: 293
- Functions: Hours and minutes, Small seconds, chronograph
- Case material: brushed titanium
- Case diameter: 44mm
- Water resistance capacity: 10 ATM
El Primero, the movement, is certainly a sight to behold. Thankfully, Zenith allows you to do just that with its dial; the skeletonized versions really highlight the impressive El Primero, especially with the two balances that manage the functions of the watch. If you bring the marvel to your ear, you can hear for yourself how fast the COSC-certified chronograph really is.The 50Hz frequency is actually for this, although the timekeeping section of the watch is not in any way less impressive at 5Hz, which is still higher than most watches in the market. The case of the model is in accordance to the superb and advanced inner workings, as it is bold, strong and confident in appearance. At its price, it offers more than what other watches of the same price point have, and Zenith definitely isn’t limiting the release to a few hundreds as it wants the impressive watch to be accessible to more people.
Some may have reservations for the design, the skeleton certainly isn’t for everyone and the style can remind connoisseurs of another brand, especially Hublot, although Zenith predates it by a few years. The impressive movement is housed in a case of considerable size too. With a diameter of 44mm, the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 is a big watch and can feel clunky on the wrist.
Image credits: Monochrome Watches (featured image and article images), Timeless Luxury Watches, Horobox (article images)