Hands on review of the Zenith Chronomaster Revival "Shadow"
After all, no matter what the slightly far-fetched story telling says around the Chronomaster Revival "Shadow". It doesn't really matter here since the outcome is much more important than the context. This piece is presented as finding its inspiration from a manual winding prototype with a blackened steel case. It is therefore not a clone of a model which was released in the past.
This is the paradox of this watch: the famous prototype would have been produced in 1970 and yet the watch that has just been presented has a very contemporary atmosphere. Zenith in any case did a great job. The Chronomaster Revival "Shadow" is a symbol of balance that manages to distinguish itself from the rest of the Chronomaster collection.
The balance is found above all in the choice of a 37mm case, identical in its proportions to the A384 case. The El Primero movement is relatively small by current standards for a chronograph caliber and the contained case diameters fit it much better than large sizes. Thus, the dial offers an optimal architecture with a harmonious distribution of the sub-dials. Despite the presence of the peripheral tachymeter scale, the sub-dials seem to be placed in the right places and there is no empty zone nor excessive concentration effect. The other element that reinforces this feeling of balance is the absence of a date window. And on this point, I want to take my hat off to Zenith: it is indeed a real pleasure to enjoy a Chronomaster with a solid dial without the date window stuck at 4:30 am between two sub-dials.
Finally; the choice of colors plays a crucial role in the overall coherence: nothing seems out of place, the color range defines a monochrome atmosphere which however does not lack contrast or dynamism. The watch is very readable and all the information, including the chronograph data, is easily captured.
The aesthetic success of the Chronomaster Revival "Shadow" lies in the fact that Zenith went to the end of the concept. The micro-blasted titanium case extends in a certain way
the specific ambiance of the dial. The watch is absolutely not a "full black" or a "phantom" model. All the components stand out from each other and only the background of the dial and the strap, with the pretty "Cordura" texture, are truly black. For the rest, Zenith offers a gray shade very pleasing to the eye.
The shape of the curved glass gives a lot of light to the dial and contrary to what it might suggest, the Chronomaster Revival "Shadow" has an energetic style. In any case, thanks to its shades of gray, it offers a truly original proposal in the Chronomaster collection. The watch appeared to me to be refined (the dark atmosphere also reduces the perception of size) and unique. It is a bit the result of an improbable uchronia. This watch seems to be the culmination of a strange experience, the crossroads between the desire to take a neo-retro approach and to inject very contemporary characteristics. The Chronomaster Revival "Shadow" could be compared to an episode of Star-Treck: a sci-fi movie made in the 70s.
In any case, I really liked this watch. It is in my opinion the most interesting, the most exciting Chronomaster Revival because its identity is unique and original.
From a mechanical point of view, the Chronomaster Revival "Shadow" is equipped with the automatic caliber El Primero 4061 which is visible through a see-through caseback. I find again the traditional performances of an El Primero caliber, namely a 5hz frequency and a power reserve of around fifty hours. Its finish is also usual and it might have been interesting to offer a different winding mass, or even an alternative overall decorative finish, more consistent with the style of the piece.
Finally, the watch is very comfortable to wear given its reasonable size and lightness. The strap is equipped with a pin buckle, which I prefer. The texture of the strap also integrates effectively into the design of the whole.
The Chronomaster Revival "Shadow" is therefore a nice success from Zenith. It brings a different aesthetic proposal highlighted by the play of colors and the beautiful rendering of the case. The fact of not looking like either an existing model or a model known from the past is undoubtedly its greatest asset with obviously the quality of execution of the manufacture. So I hope that this watch will not bear its name well and that it will shine in the light because it deserves to be successful. Its price in France is 8.300 euros which is consistent with those available in the Chronomaster Revival line.
+ an aesthetic success which brings a different proposition to the collection + the case finishes+ no date display!Cons:
- the presentation of the winding mass, or even of the movement, should have been better adapted to the context