Zenith El Primero 36,000 VPH
The El Primero has been an important part of Zenith’s story since it was first unveiled in 1969. Boasting the first fully integrated automatic chronograph movement, and beating at an impressive 36,000vph, the watch has made its mark not just on the brand’s history, but watchmaking as a whole. But just because the El Primero comes with such a prestigious heritage, doesn’t mean it can’t be given a modern twist—case in point, the new Zenith El Primero 36,000 VPH, with its striking ‘black and white’ contrast dial.
The case of this new El Primero is made of aluminium coated in ceramic (named ‘ceramicised aluminium’ by Zenith), which makes it a remarkably light watch and also highly scratch-resistant—all the while its diameter of 42mm gives the watch a good amount of wrist coverage. The ‘Panda dials’ are available in either black with silver-toned subdials, or silver-toned with black subdials. The subdials are arranged in an overlapping formation, offering a small seconds indicator and counters for 12-hours and 30-minutes, encircled by a tachymeter scale around the edge of the dial. There is also a subtle date tucked away neatly at 6 o’clock. Along with the matte black of the case, the whole design of the watch makes this El Primero a really smart-looking timepiece.
The movement is Zenith’s in-house calibre El Primero 400B, which comprises 31 jewels and offers 50 hours of power reserve (and, of course, beats at a rate of 36,000vph.) It’s an exceptional column wheel chronograph movement, chronometer certified and beautifully finished, featuring Côtes de Genève decoration on the rotor. Available on a lightweight perforated rubber strap, the watch is a modern, sporty addition to the well-established El Primero line, currently priced at $8,600 (or £6,859 at the time of publishing.)