Zenith kicks off 2024 with the Chronomaster
With a revived triple calendar, gem-set bezels, and a stunning olive green dial, it’s hard to imagine the Chronomaster has a 55-year legacy before it.
This week, the LVMH Group’s four watch and jewellery labels (Bulgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith) are bringing their leaders to Miami, where they will present a few key releases prior to Watches and Wonders Geneva in April. This year’s LVMH Watch Week is particularly important as it will present Frédéric Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault, Bernard Arnault’s youngest son, as the newly appointed CEO of LVMH Watches. The 28-year-old was previously the CEO of TAG Heuer from 2020 with the vision of taking the brand to billion-dollar status; estimates suggest TAG Heuer is close to the mark.
For 2024, Zenith is celebrating a reference launched in 1969, a year of particular importance to the watch industry and Zenith in particular. This was the year of the first automatic chronograph, sealing the El Primero’s legendary status in watchmaking. The A386 is no stranger to us; it was presented in a revival in 2019, a Manufacture Edition Revival in 2020, and in 2021 as the Chronomaster Original. The Chronomaster Original’s design is best described as retro-modern – it has the style of a watch from the ’60s and ’70s but is executed in an elegant, modern manner. The domed crystal, bezel-free design and narrow chamfers exude a very genteel presence, yet this is unmistakably a sports watch with a powerful, high-frequency, vertically coupled chronograph with column-wheel control behind it.
The Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar
Zenith also offered a version of its chronograph with a triple calendar complication in that same period as the El Primero was being developed. This was the Calibre 410, which was produced by Zenith for over three decades and only retired in 2000. This movement was, in fact, remade with an El Primero calibre in 2014 with a limited release of 500 pieces. It was sized at 42mm, a tad larger than the original’s 38mm. Now, 10 years later, the Triple Calendar looks set to become a regular production timepiece under the Chronomaster Original line.
There isn’t too much to be said about the watch’s layout; it follows the original triple calendar chronograph’s design. Above the small seconds (9 o’clock) and 60-second totaliser counters are two small apertures that indicate the day and month, respectively. The date is displayed between the four and five o’clock indexes, and a moonphase indicator shares space with the 60-minute totaliser at 6 o’clock. This is a complete calendar, not an annual one; you will have to adjust the calendar manually at the end of each month.
You may have noted our mention of the 60-second totaliser at 3 o’clock. This is a modern El Primero, and Zenith has chosen to highlight that with a foudroyante-style central chronograph seconds hand, with the outermost chapter of the dial (in white), along with a second ring that marks one-hundredth of a second. In addition, the typical red central chronograph seconds hand has also been replaced by a gold-plated one, which is the same for all the hands and indexes on the dial.
The watch is powered by Zenith’s Calibre 3610, its modern El Primero movement with a 60-hour power reserve. It’s a great and highly reliable movement, which now adds a valuable calendar complication to the watch. Three versions of the timepiece are available: a white dial with black counters, an anthracite dial with white counters, and a stunning olive green Boutique Edition with white counters. They are available with steel bracelets or matching coloured leather straps.
The Chronomaster Sport
The green trend continues with the Chronomaster Sport, which sees a new model in the same hue. The green ceramic bezel is matched with a green lacquered dial and Zenith’s iconic triple-colour counter in silver, grey, and blue. The bezel’s indicator also reflects the 1/10th of a second display, with the same configuration for the chronograph’s counters as the Triple Calendar. A small date window is located at 4.30, in a matching green to the dial. The Chronomaster Sport is available with a metal bracelet or green rubber strap with a folding clasp, and the two are closely priced with just a CHF500 difference.
But a big surprise addition to the Chronomaster Sport collection is its first full gold model, which truly makes this a luxury sports watch (and likely with a shorter waiting list than some other brand’s chronograph models). This Chronomaster Sport comes in a rose gold case and bracelet, and a bezel that’s fully set with baguette-cut gemstones such as white diamonds, black spinels, and grey and blue sapphires. These reflect Zenith’s tri-colour style in a precious manner.
The watch also has a meteorite dial that’s cut and hand-finished to deliver a golden hue and reveals its interleaving Widmanstätten pattern with a warmth not typically associated with meteorite dials. Baguette-cut diamonds are used as hour markers for this watch, and the rotor in gold also features a new satin finish. Priced at CHF98,000, this is a handsome watch for any enthusiast, and at 41mm, it is relatively wearable for all wrist sizes. We definitely suggest heading to a Zenith boutique to check out these watches.
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