Up Close with the Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar

Launched at Baselworld 2011, the Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar is the first El Primero to have an annual calendar function (and an especially innovative one at that). It displays the date, day and month in easily legible windows, making it eminently useful. And it is superb value for money to boot. I am liking this a lot.

Zenith Captain Winsor annual calendar

Most notably the annual calendar is the same innovative and simplified 9-part mechanism that Ludwig Oechslin designed for the stark MIH watch. Created to raise money for the Musée International d’Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where Mr Oechslin is the curator, the MIH watch sells for a mere CHF5000 with 8% Swiss VAT. Mr Oechslin is an ingenious and prolific horologist best known for its work at Ulysse-Nardin which included the Freak caroussel, and more recently his own brand ochs und junior.

I never warmed to the monochromatic look of the MIH watch, despite its tremendous value. This Zenith is far more attractive, at a marginally higher price of about US$8000 for the steel model. For a bit more money you get a lot more aesthetic charm and as well the historical El Primero movement. The Winsor annual calendar is one of the best buys today in my opinion. Though it’s classically styled, like much of the current Zenith collection, the asymmetrical dial makes it interesting. The steel version with silver dial and rose gold indices and hands, as pictured here, is especially charming.

The case diameter is 42 mm leaving the chronograph counters clustered in the middle of the dial, but surprisingly it doesn’t look all that bad.

And like the current crop of Zenith watches, this is modestly priced. I wish the dial and case were a tad better (admittedly this is a prototype and the production pieces promise to be better), but this is a very compelling proposition. This is solid watchmaking in a well designed package.


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