Zenith Introduces the El Primero A384 Revival

A faithful remake of the first El Primero.

Following the launch of the three-piece box set and the A386 Revival trio in 18k gold earlier in the year, Zenith has just announced the final instalment of the watches created to mark the 50th anniversary of the El Primero chronograph movement – the El Primero A384 Revival.

A faithful remake of the original, 1969 A384, the Revival watch has a steel case and is part of the regular collection, making it the most affordable of the anniversary watches. Though it’s not limited edition, there will be limited edition variants made for watch magazines are due later in the year.

The first is now 50 years old

Celebrated for being one of the first automatic chronographs – and the longest lived – the El Primero was the first integrated chronograph with a full rotor, and also the first chronograph (and the first serially produced watch for that matter) running at 36,000 beats per hour, or 5Hz, allowing it to correctly measure time to a tenth of a second.

Zenith El Primero A386 Revival 4

The modern day El Primero cal. 400

While there is debate as to who exactly introduced the first automatic chronograph movements – both Seiko and a consortium of Heuer, Breitling, Hamilton-Buren and Dubois-Depraz also did so in 1969 – the El Primero is the only one still in production. One reason for its long life is its practical, robust construction; the movement was designed from the ground up to be an integrated chronograph movement.

Original Zenith El Primero A384

A vintage A384 from 1969 with the distinctive “ladder” bracelet

Original Zenith El Primero A384 2

The case back of the original featuring the Zenith star logo

A total of three El Primero models were launched with the movement in 1969 – the first being A384, followed by A385 and A386.

While all three used the same movement, the A386 became the quintessential Zenith El Primero wristwatch thanks to its round case and overlapping, tri-colour chronograph counters. Consequently, the A386 is the most valuable model amongst the three originals today.

In contrast, the A384 had a style typical of the 1970s, with a blocky, cushion-shaped case and a black-on-white “panda” dial.

Zenith El Primero A384 Revival 3

The A384 Revival is pretty much an out and out remake of the 1969 original. According to the brand, every part of the original A384, from the dimensions of its steel case to the panda dial, was scanned and digitised to ensure the Revival is an exact replica.

It’s exactly the same size as the original, measuring 37mm wide and 12.6mm in height. And it has the same surface finishing, with a radially brushed front surface and polished bevels.



The Revival also features the same matte, white lacquered dial with a black tachymeter scale and registers. And, to complete the package, Zenith even recreated the original “ladder” bracelet made by Gay Frères.

The only concessions to modernity are the display back as well as sapphire crystals on the front and back. And, of course, the movement used is the El Primero 400, a modernised version of the original El Primero 3019 PHC.

Key facts

El Primero A384
Strap – ref. 03.A384.400/21.C815
Bracelet – ref. 03.A384.400/21.M384

Diameter: 37 mm
Height: 12.6 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: Automatic cal. 400
Frequency: 36,000 beats per hour, or 5Hz
Power reserve: 50 hours

Strap: Black alligator strap or stainless steel ladder bracelet

Limited edition: Regular collection
Availability: Already in boutiques and retailers
Price: 7,900 Swiss francs on strap, and 8,400 francs on bracelet

For more, visit Zenith-watches.com.

Update January 14, 2020: Price of model with bracelet added.

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The Ideal Watch Size According to the Well-Dressed

Surveyed by The Armoury's Mark Cho.

Best known for cofounding menswear retailer The Armoury as well as owning English tie-maker Drake’s, Mark Cho also happens to be a watch aficionado.

Last month, Mr Cho decided to discover the “ideal watch size” by surveying his clients, as well as the followers of watch blogs like ourselves and Hodinkee. The goal was to “find out if there were any clear preferences for the size of a watch”.

He put together a 15-question survey that received a total of 924 responses. The results make for interesting reading, keeping in mind the target audience for the survey, like Mr Cho himself, was likely to be more sartorially inclined than the average watch buyer.

Raul Pages Soberly Onyx wrist shot

The 40mm Raul Pages Soberly Onyx on its maker’s fairly average wrist 

Often underestimated

The opening question of the survey was a general question about wrist circumference. Just over half the respondents chose small, 42% reported average, and 7% large. The results naturally point towards a tendency to underestimate wrist size, since “average” should be, well, average.

Ideal Watch Survey - Wrist Size Perception

Source – Mark Cho

The tendency to underreport was borne out by the second question, which asked for an exact wrist measurement.

Ideal Watch Survey - Wrist Size Measurement

Source – Mark Cho

The measurements formed a normal bell curve, as would be expected, pointing towards a disparity between the actual versus perceived wrist size.

The ideal

The second section of the survey examined preferences, starting with the ideal watch diameter for the “primary watch”. That was followed by the ideal size for a “secondary watch” – the less frequently worn watch, perhaps a sports watch for weekends.

Ideal Watch Survey - Ideal Primary Watch

Source – Mark Cho

For primary watches, the average diameter was 37.77mm, but grew larger for secondary watches to 39.28mm. In fact, the ideal secondary watch size is 1.5mm larger than that for the primary watch, a substantial increase.

That implies, quite logically, that a sports or casual watch can be bigger. And given that a primary watch is likely worn to work, a discreetly sized timepiece makes sense.

Ideal Watch Survey - Ideal Secondary Watch

Source – Mark Cho

Other findings

Respondents were also asked to choose their three favourite watch brands. The results of this question are the most obvious indication that those surveyed are far from the average watch buyer.

Ideal Watch Survey - Favourite Brands

Source – Mark Cho

The ranking skewed towards formal and classical watches, topped by Rolex, Patek Philippe, and surprisingly, A. Lange & Söhne, while Jaeger-LeCoultre, Grand Seiko and F.P. Journe placed within the top 10.

The results contrast with more widely surveyed rankings of top brands, which typically favour larger, mass market brands like Rolex, Omega, TAG Heuer and Breitling.

You can find the full breakdown of the survey results here.


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