Since 1969 and the release of the very first model, the El Primero chronograph has held a prominent role within Zenith’s portfolio. This year’s two new Zenith El Primero 36,000 vph (36,000 vibrations per hour being the beat rate of the caliber), are combination of the famed “hi beat” mechanical chronograph heritage and modern materials in a classic looking package.
Both models, with “watch latin” reference names of 24.2041.400/21.R576 and 24.2041.400/01.R576 have the middle 42mm size.
This cases are “ceramicised aluminum,” which is important because aluminum scratches easily and ceramic coatings do not. Both cases in matte black color are just 12.75mm thick with 100 meters of water resistance in traditional El Primero style. The standard El Primero dial style is marked by a mostly monochromatic color tone with the lightest hint of red in two of the chronograph hands.
Inside the Zenith El Primero 36,000 VPH is the in-house made Zenith caliber 400B automatic column-wheel movement. You can see the movement through the rear of the case’s sapphire crystal exhibition window. The movement operates at 5Hz (36,000 bph), which Zenith prefers to say is 36,000 vibrations per hour (“vph”).
The date window is located 6 o’clock – and is among the more attractive date window on dial integrations on a sport watch you’ll find out there. ttached to the matte black ceramicised aluminum case is a perforated black rubber strap.
These black/white and white/black El Primeros (to call them so) are definitely eye-catching, and quite a smart move for Zenith. Price for each is $8,600.