Maybe it was right near where I was standing, or maybe it was a hundred yards away. Either way, 50 years ago, folks in Baselworld’s Hall 1 gathered to see the brand new Zenith El Primero for the very first time. It was 1969, and the year was all about the debut of the automatic chronograph. Zenith’s A386 reference was the vehicle of choice to debut this soon-to-be-legendary caliber. The watch has a streamlined case and a bold dial with three different colored sub-registers and an angled date window at 4:30. Combine that with the high-speed automatic chronograph movement inside and the watch was unlike anything the world had ever seen.
Fast-forward to 2019 and Zenith is debuting (almost) the exact same watch, only this time it comes in three precious metals – white, rose, and yellow gold – to celebrate 50 years of El Primero. Judging by these three pieces, it looks like the last half-century has treated Zenith quite well, and these 50th-anniversary watches treated me quite well too when I got to see them in the metal yesterday. They're killer. The combination of the tri-color registers and the various forms of gold just works. Here’s a closer look and you can find more details and specs here.


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