Another Basel novelty: El Primero 38mm

Jun 03, 2011,00:37 AM

Not everybody is happy about the trend towards bigger and bigger watches, and also an increasing number of ladies shows themselves interested in mechanics and nice high-quality watches WITHOUT golden ornaments and gemstones.

For all these, Zenith now offers the great 36,000 VPH El primero sports watch in a small diameter of 38mm. As we can see, the design looks very pleasant:


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Believe me...

 By: KIH : June 3rd, 2011-00:52
... 10 beat chrono in 38mm case + bracelet - - this has a HUGE market here in Japan. Although I wish the movement were manual winding, the decision to make one in 38mm case with 10 beat calibar alone deserves big applaud around here. Thank you for letting... 


 By: LouS : June 3rd, 2011-03:27
Yours is the second post in recent days expressing a preference for manual. I'm mystified. Could you please explain the appeal of a manual, especially of a manual El Primero (due respect to those owners of HWs around here)? Why turn the world's first auto... 

Well, with all due respect...

 By: KIH : June 3rd, 2011-05:09
.. and forgive me for not knowing very well enough about "the world's first automatic chrono" fame, but my remark was a general statement - meaning that I would prefer to be able to SEE the beautiful chronograph movement rather than the view is blocked by... 

don't take it that way

 By: LouS : June 3rd, 2011-11:58
Ken, Don't take it that way. It is just a given to me that an El P is an automatic (again, respect and apologies to HW owners and fans) and I really wanted to know what the appeal of a manual was. Genuine curiosity, you see, not intended as a flame at all... 

I was just kidding, too.

 By: KIH : June 3rd, 2011-15:25
..but hope you understand my point of view Ken

Ken, normally, I would agree with you. But I think you chose the wrong example this time

 By: Marcus Hanke : June 6th, 2011-05:04
The great advantage of manually wound chronogrph movements is that no rotor obstructs the view on the complex and delicate system of springs, wheel and levers, especially when the chronograph functions are engaged. BUT if a chronograph movement is designe...  

Okay, Marcus.

 By: KIH : June 6th, 2011-06:38
I admit that I had too little knowledge about Zenith Chrono movement and I concur with you. Not all Chrono movement are made similarly. Thank you for enlightenment. Best, Ken

Actually, I think that many modern chronograph movements lack aesthetic qualities ...

 By: Marcus Hanke : June 6th, 2011-15:25
When I look at the most recent generation of chronograph movements, then most of them seem to be designed in order to hide most of their complexity behind large bridges and plates. Mostly, there is a circular cutout, sometimes even labeled "column wheel",... 

Hmnn, thanks Marcus

 By: KIH : June 6th, 2011-16:47
... I was thinking more of Datograph, Villeret Collection of Montblanc (Minerva) or Patek. I myself own Omega Speedy of 60s with cal. 321 in with display back. So, my statement was totally due to my lack of research/ knowledge. I have been eying on the vi... 

I second your feelings ....

 By: Marcus Hanke : June 7th, 2011-00:09
All the chronograph movements you mentioned were from the outset designed to be manually wound, and - this should not be forgotten - to please the eye. They are works of art that must not be hidden under a rotor, nor could this be done, since their layout... 

LouS, I have to agree with KIH here

 By: Bruno.M1 : June 4th, 2011-02:34
I don't care it was the first automatic chrono, I just happen to prefer manual winding movements Patek, Panerai or Zenith ... If Rolex would make a manual sub, I would buy the manual sub BTW, a very nice watch but please .... why so shiny, please do not p... 

I'm with Lou here ...

 By: v76 : June 4th, 2011-08:41
the El Primero is one of the first automatic chronographs ever produced, and I don't see an advantage of removing the auto-winding feature. Another factor is that the El Primero was always designed to be utilitarian in appearance, and what's hidden by the... 

Excellent watch,

 By: InHavenPro : June 3rd, 2011-09:21
love the size and the dial looks fantastic! Thanks for the photos, Filip

I'm just not sure...

 By: dxboon : June 4th, 2011-15:59
...about the sub-dial layout and display here. Maybe I need some time to get used to it. However, I do think offering a 38mm chrono is NICE! Cheers, Daos

The counters look like they are on top of each other

 By: Mostel : June 4th, 2011-17:40
The design already puts the counters too close IMHO... this makes it really claustrophobic on that dial. Oh well... still love that movement!

And it's so easy to fix

 By: Rickr25 : June 4th, 2011-20:47
Just remove the outer metallic ring and put the markings on the subdials themselves. That would even leave you with some space between the subdials. I see not reason for this overlap mania.

Love the bracelet

 By: Rickr25 : June 4th, 2011-20:48
All polished and so shiny. Wonderful.

Is there half hour markers on the chrono hour display?

 By: Matwaleo : July 3rd, 2011-22:42
On the display at six why do they have half hour markers for a chrono that measures hours can it measure the half hour? Like for example measure something to say 0030 and then the minute chrono at 3 o'clock measures to say 0001 and the chromo second hand ... 

These markers make sense ....

 By: Marcus Hanke : July 3rd, 2011-23:33
... since the chronograph's hour counter hand does not jump, but sweeps continuously. Thus it is necessary to display the half-hour increments in combination with a minutes counter based on 30 minutes intervals. Regards, Marcus

Overlapping dials query

 By: eelstub : July 8th, 2011-06:49
Thanks for this report, Markus. I think 38 mm is a good size for some wrists and I like the way it's been done. Just one query about the overlapping dials, which I know have been controversial. Personally I like them but I'm pretty sure I'm right in sayin... 

Agreed. If you've got to have overlapping subdials . . .

 By: Dr No : July 8th, 2011-09:36
. . . the formula employed by the New Vintage is the most sensible . . ....  

Look to the originals

 By: LouS : July 8th, 2011-15:10
Funny that you are referring to a 2009 model - the New Vintage 1969 - when using the term ''the 1969 model." That arrangement came from the actual 1969 model, the A 386 the origianl models offer two more potential solutions Downsize the hour subdial Adjus...  

The simple reply is: yes

 By: Marcus Hanke : July 10th, 2011-04:03
Until now, I have met nobody who finds a use in the actual subdial overlap of the hours counter OVER the minutes subdial, people from Zenith included (well, I had no chance speaking to the responsible designer). Regards, Marcus