Zenith Revives the El Primero Triple Calendar

With a latest-generation movement and "lightning" seconds.

Zenith revisits one of its signature historical models with the Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar. It is the Chronomaster Original we know and love, but with a twist: the addition of the day, month, and moon phase while maintaining the same dimensions as the chronograph-only model. Powered by the latest-generation El Primero 3610 with “lightning” seconds, the Triple Calendar makes its debut in three colourways, white, grey and a boutique-exclusive green.

Initial thoughts

Although popular among enthusiasts, the Chronomaster Original is arguably undiscovered territory for many because it has been overshadowed by Chronomaster Sport, a watch famous for resembling the Rolex Daytona. However, the Chronomaster Original offers better aesthetics and proportions compared to its slightly derivative Sports sibling. The compact 38 mm case sits comfortably on most wrists, while having enough presence to feel like a larger sports watch.

Compared to the standard Chronometer Original, the Triple Calendar adds a few complications into the mix and evokes the well known vintage original. Importantly, it is not only a vintage remake since it utilises the latest-generation El Primero movement with a “lighting” central seconds.

The Triple Calendar is, however, pricey. It costs US$13,400 on a calfskin strap and a bit more on a stainless steel bracelet. That’s about 30% more than the base model Chronomaster Original, which feels like a lot for simple-calendar functions. That said, the chronograph-and-triple-calendar combination is relatively uncommon, and the El Primero is a high-quality in-house calibre with a “lightning” seconds, which helps justify the price.

The flagship

When Zenith launched the El Primero in 1969, it was already designed to accommodate the triple calendar and moon phase. In 1970, the brand produced 25 prototypes of the El Primero triple calendar in the classic Chronomaster case. The movement eventually made it into regular production, but in other case styles and stayed in the catalogue for decades. This release is basically a remake of the 1970 prototype, rather than the later models that utilised different cases.

The new Triple Calendar is equipped with the latest-generation El Primero 3610 but has the same dial layout as the vintage original. The days of the week and month are positioned above the registers at nine and three, while the date window is in between four and five. The moon phase sits inside the sub-dial at six, with the moon disc featuring with rose gold-plated stars and moons.

The case retains the same style as the 1969 original, as well as the same 38 mm diameter. It is, however, slightly taller at 12.6 mm due to the new calibre and display back.

Inside sits the El Primero 3610, a self-winding, high frequency movement running at 36,000 beats per hour. Even with the incorporation of the triple calendar and moon phase, the movement has a relatively lengthy 60 hours of power reserve.

The high-beat balance results in a “lighting” central seconds that makes one revolution around the dial once every 10 seconds, allowing for elapsed time measurements of up to a tenth of a second. The central seconds hand moves six times faster than a conventional chronograph seconds and is read in tandem with the 1/10th of a seconds scale on the perimeter of the dial.

While the vintage El Primero movement was a product of the 1960s, the El Primero 3610 here was designed with contemporary aesthetics in mind. As a result, the movement is more decorative than the vintage original, with the bridges in particularly being skeletonised to reveal more of the moving parts. The calibre is also dressed up with blued steel screws and a rotor open-worked to form the Zenith star emblem.

Key facts and price

Zenith Chronomaster Original Triple Calendar
Ref. 03.3400.3610/38 (white)
Ref. 03.3400.3610/39 (grey)
Ref. 03.3400.3610/40 (green)

Diameter: 38 mm
Height: 12.6 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 50 m

Movement: El Primero 3610
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, date, month, chronograph, and moonphase display
Frequency: 36,000 beats per hour (5 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 60 hours

Strap: Calfskin leather or stainless steel bracelet

Limited edition: No, but the green dial is available only in physical and online Zenith boutiques
Availability: At Zenith boutiques, retailers and Zenith-Watches.com starting February 2024
Price: US$13,400 (strap); US$13,900 (bracelet)

For more information, visit Zenith-Watches.com.


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