Hands on review of the Zenith Chronomaster Revival "Shadow"

Jul 06, 2020,13:43 PM

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!

- the presentation of the winding mass, or even of the movement, should have been better adapted to the context


More posts: El Primero

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Comments: view entire thread


I applaud the restraint...

 By: Cpt Scarlet : July 6th, 2020-14:17
Zenith have refrained from the temptation to make this a 42 or 44mm case with a date window or even faux vintage lume. My only disappointments are a little too much script on the dial, Zenith and Chronograph would be sufficient and the mismatched design a... 

Thank you for this nice review Xavier.

 By: @lberti : July 6th, 2020-14:20
I like this watch a lot. Maybe my favouritw Zenith in the current lineup, next to the "covergirl"....

Maybe I’m seeing things,

 By: iulianbutum : July 6th, 2020-14:48
But one off the chrono pushers is looking to be off compared with the other ,or having different angle in which is installed,first I thought maybe it was pressed but the chrono it looks stopped in all pictures ,anyway both pushers looks odd and in no sime... 

Stunning watch...

 By: myles721 : July 6th, 2020-15:26
Couldn’t agree more...

Thanks for the review mate!

 By: tjw_keith : July 6th, 2020-17:48
I do enjoy the “stealthy” touches of this shadow revival very much.

Thanks for making the effort to review this Zenith, FX . . .

 By: Dr No : July 6th, 2020-20:47
. . . which, on first sight, drew a response along the lines of, "How did they know I wanted an EP just like that?" Even the lack of seconds hash marks is a positive attribute; it's a couth touch for an otherwise masculine watch. I could see Bond wearing ... 

I agree with you about Bond 🤔

 By: Cpt Scarlet : July 7th, 2020-01:42
Good idea.

As usual...

 By: nacelle : July 6th, 2020-21:55
A very well thought out and presented review....

Would you mind sharing your write size?

 By: logan2z : July 6th, 2020-23:19
I like these new 37mm Zeniths a lot, but with a 7" wrist and a collection full of 42mm+ watches (aside from the 38mm Hamilton Khaki Field) I'm a bit concerned about how small this watch might wear on me. And given the current pandemic situation here in th... 

Your post makes me really looking forward to it...

 By: i_am_Sam : July 7th, 2020-06:05
Such a nice execution by Zenith and such a cool design. Love the all black with the titanium case instead of ceramic or PVD treatment and the fact that its a no date! Thanks for the review FX! Sam

Thanks for the review FX

 By: singingbee : July 20th, 2020-21:48
Definitely looking forward to see this in the metal soon!

I don't know what' is more desirable, the review or the watch

 By: PoyFR : August 1st, 2020-05:05
Foresta you are like a forever good wine, and I see that with time you never end to get better. Always a immense pleasure to read your post and here for a perfect timepiece for which you succeed in making it even more desirable. It is a great piece. Thank...