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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Back to top.