News: The Zenith Chronomaster Goes...Rolex?
In 1969, Zenith released the El Primero—the first integrated automatic chronograph movement. Over the last 52 years, the El Primero has taken many forms—it even made an appearance within the Rolex Daytona between 1988 and 2000. One of the most recent guises, however, is the Chronomaster. First introduced at Basel in 1994, it’s fair to say that there have been quite a few updates and variations of the watch since its release, the latest of which is why we are here today: introducing the Zenith Chronomaster Sport—a Zenith El Primero for today’s market.
The Zenith Chronomaster first launched at Baselworld in 1994
The Chronomaster has always retained a somewhat dressy feel. The new Chronomaster Sport, however—with its chunky 41mm steel case and three link bracelet—is definitely a sports watch. “Well, that’s just because they copied the look of the Daytona” I hear you say. While I agree that it does look a bit—okay, a lot—like the Daytona from afar, do you know what this Zenith really is? It’s a chronograph reminiscent of today’s market. Just look. It’s not just a Daytona. It’s a TAG Heuer Carrera, an Omega Speedmaster; it’s even a bit IWC Portuguese.
While that is a good design choice on Zenith’s front—going with what they know works—that isn’t to say this watch isn’t its own. While it does have a chunky steel case similar to the Speedmaster, a ceramic bezel—which on the Zenith allows the user to read the 1/10th of a second chronograph—and three-link bracelet like the Daytona, what makes the Chronomaster Sport a Zenith is the three independently coloured sub-dials, the tactile, stopwatch-style pushers—Zenith’s odd date placement even makes an appearance between 4 and 5—and of course, the El Primero movement.
The Zenith El Primero was first introduced in 1969
The Calibre 3600 is Zenith’s most up-to-date version of the El Primero. As I previously mentioned—when talking about the bezel—this El Primero has the capability to give a reading accurate to 1/10th of a second. Upon activation, like a bat out of hell, the centre-second hand runs around the dial once every ten seconds—I think it’s safe to say that you won’t overbake anything again with this watch.
Apart from the super-accurate 1/10th of a second chronograph—which runs at 36,000 vph by the way—the Calibre 3600 also boasts a practical 60-hour power reserve—as long as you don’t leave the Sonic-like chronograph hand running that is. Fitted with an open-worked, Zenith star rotor, this side of the watch, I can say with certainty, does not look anything like any of the other aforementioned sports watches—especially the Rolex.
The Rolex Daytona used a Zenith El Primero movement between 1988 and 2000
So, there you have it, Zenith’s take on the plucky sports chronograph—and what a watch it is too. If you are a fan of any of the watches I previously mentioned—like the Rolex, TAG, Omega or IWC—then well, I think you will be a fan of the new Zenith Chronomaster Sport. Unless you get to buy a Daytona at RRP, that is.
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