Zenith recreates its 1969 Chronomaster with its smoked gradient dial

NEW – Back in 1969 with the third part of a historic trilogy for Zenith, the reissue of its vintage A385.

Not all watch years are created equal. And 1969 was one of the greatest vintages in history, with the launch of the best high frequency chronograph movements. At Zenith, it will be the El Primero, alongside the Caliber 11 co-offered by Breitling and TAG Heuer. For the launch of this exceptional caliber with column wheels and vertical clutch, Zenith will unveil three models in steel, the A384 with the Panda dial, the A385 with the tonneau case and gradient dial, and the round A386 with the silver dial and counters blue grey. Obviously highly sought after pieces today, more than 50 years after their release.


To mark the relaunch of the brand, under the aegis of Julien Tornare, after a few years of creative hesitation, and to pay tribute to this strong page in its history, Zenith has therefore offered Revival editions in recent months. The third part of this trilogy is therefore a Chronomaster Revival El Primero A385, a magnificent vintage reissue with a smoked-brown gradient dial. According to Zenith, it would even be the first dial with a degraded effect in the watch industry in 1969.

Laurent Xavier Moulin

This is a fine exercise in reverse engineering the Manufacture, using the original plans as well as the production plans, each part of the 37mm barrel-shaped stainless steel A385 case, including the pushers. pump type, is faithful to the original model from 1969. Its 37 mm diameter steel case remains exactly faithful to the original appearance of the El Primero A385 model, even if a sapphire crystal obviously replaces the Plexiglas from 1969. The dial dark brown, almost black on the border includes silvery white counters surrounded by a tachymeter scale. To this are added the faceted hands and indexes as in 1969, a central red lacquered chronograph hand, and a date window which is still tilted as at the time, between the indexes at 4 and 5 o’clock. The application of a beige tinted Super-LumiNova further reinforces the vintage style of this timepiece.


The main visual difference is in fact on the back, with a caseback fitted with a sapphire crystal to be able to admire the El Primero caliber. Everyone can choose to wear it on a steel bracelet, a modern remake of the iconic Gay Frères bracelets of the first El Primero watches, or on a light brown calfskin strap. Zenith Chronomaster Revival A385, € 7,800 (leather), steel (€ 8,400).


In 1970, this A385 made the headlines as early as 1970, participating in Operation Sky initiated by Zenith. This extreme test consisted in securing the watch to the landing gear of an Air France Boeing 707 during a Paris-New York flight in order to test its resistance to external aggressions such as sudden temperature variations, the force of the wind and atmospheric pressure variations. On landing, the watch was still working perfectly! To repeat the test today with many models today would undoubtedly be very informative.


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