The Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open Power Reserve

El Primero Chronomaster Open Power Reserve in rose gold

Zenith made the exposed balance wheel its trademark during the Nataf years. I never liked the exposed balance wheel, it brings to mind inexpensive watches. At Baselworld 2011 Zenith launched the El Primero Chronomaster Open Power Reserve. The dial has an aperture at 10 o’clock, ostensibly to show the 36,000 bph balance wheel. I dislike the exposed balance wheel. But importantly, despite my misgivings about the design of the watch, offers good value, like much of Zenith’s current range. My disinclination towards the exposed balance is simple – while unusual I don’t think the high-beat balance is worthy of being shown off. Though this is visually similar the El Primero Tourbillon, at least the tourbillon has a reason for an aperture in the dial. Admittedly a tourbillon is not as fascinating or rare as it once was but it is at least a tourbillon. Save for the exposed balance, this watch isn’t bad looking; I generally like the current Zenith aesthetic. But there are people who do find an exposed balance wheel interesting, and this has a great price-performance ratio. 


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