Our Zenith Chronomaster Sport 2021

Our Zenith Chronomaster Sport 2021

12 February 2021 | Zenith , Watch Reviews

The reveal of the new Zenith Chronomaster Sport 2021 chronograph triggered praise and criticism among enthusiasts and collectors. It is something you'd expect, given that Zenith has overhauled a timepiece this respected, housing such a legendary mechanical movement.

zenith-chronomaster-sport-2021-side-viewConsequently, you'll find those complaining against those praising the brand for finally introducing something new as they move forward. Let's pick a different industry for a while; please check out what happened when BMW uncovered their new oversized kidney grille. When you're shaking things up, from a product generation to the next one, you usually make or break according to the kind of audience you're approaching.

zenith-chronomaster-sport-2021-sketchThe hot topic here is and has been, no doubt, the new black ceramic insert. From a product perspective, not only is ceramics the favorite choice to most watch manufacturers, it is far more resistant to scratches and dents than any standard aluminum inlay while ensuring long-lasting appearance and durability over a lifetime. However, the new design looks quite familiar and much like the signature Rolex Daytona's conical and wide black inlay.

Currently, you'll find countless reviews of the new Zenith Chronomaster Sport 2021 inside and out of the Internet; design cues, product specifications, and options have been thoroughly scrutinized, and it's hard to add anything you won't know already. However, to get a comprehensive understanding of the new Zenith Chronomaster Sport, let's begin by quickly looking into the collection's foothold, from its forerunner to the current collection through milestones models. We'll end up by introducing our Chronomaster Sport and envision color palettes we'd love to see, including signature Zenith color combinations paying tribute to the brand's history.


While scrolling back to the Zenith Chronomaster's origins, it's clear how the new model represents a contemporary take on the Zenith three-register chronograph, including various sources of inspiration combined to make the recipe modern. The original Zenith El Primero dates back to 1969, a cornerstone in watchmaking welcoming iconic models, unprecedented technological advancements, and marking unforgettable moments in history.

The El Primero movement

Back then, Omega made the Speedmaster the first hand-wound chronograph to land on the moon; simultaneously, a handful of the industry's most respected brands found themselves fiercely competing for the launch of the top-performing mechanical self-winding industrially produced chronograph. The leading contenders were:

  • some Swiss brands under the Chronomatic consortium (Heuer, Hamilton-Buren, Breitling and Dubois Depraz),

  • Zenith as a stand-alone manufacturer

  • Seiko.

zenith-chronomaster-sport-2021-back-case-1Among them, Zenith played as an outsider, yet their efforts were so huge in comparison, to outperform the competition in either time and product released. During the first months of 1969, the watchmaking industry welcomed the ground-breaking El Primero by Zenith and, straight away, the Chronomatic Calibre 11. However, the Zenith El Primero was outstanding: as a fully integrated 5Hz, in-house chronograph it outperformed its 19,800 vph modular Calibre 11 sibling.

zenith-official-brochure-1969Additionally, it adopted an even more refined technical layout by adopting a column wheel mechanism instead of the far less sophisticated cam and lever mechanism. Last but certainly not least, the Zenith El Primero was thinner than the Calibre 11. The El Primero was so ahead of its time that other premium manufacturers chose the Zenith new caliber to equip their upcoming luxury sports watches. The most renowned was Rolex; when phasing out their hand-wound Rolex Daytona, they opted for the El Primero, albeit reducing its frequency to 4 Hertz, when engineering their first-ever automatic Cosmograph Daytona.

zenith-chronomaster-sport-2021-1More than fifty years in the making, the column-wheel operated and 5 Hz running Zenith El Primero prides itself by retaining its position as the top-performing mechanical self-winding chronograph movement available. The 2021 Chronomaster Sport welcomes a fully re-engineered and better-finished edition of an El Primero A386 caliber, whose name is El Primero 3600, boasting a 1/10th of a second chronograph reading at your fingertips, via an embossed scale on the black ceramic inlay.

Such mechanical movement, alone, makes the new Chronomaster Sport a class of its own. I admit the bezel's design is too similar to a Daytona's, but I equally believe there's much more to offer than just a ceramic bezel here. The new Chronomaster Sport combines the new 3600 with the build quality and details you won't find on any current El Primero chronograph out there.

The design

The new Zenith Chronomaster Sport combines cues from previous generations, including details from the De Luca series 1 and 2, like a tri compax dial with colored registers, a date window placed between four and five, and a fixed bezel. The new Zenith Chronomaster Sport's 41mm case pays homage, again, to the De Luca chronographs, and, in my opinion, the no-guards crown and Chrono pushers are consistent with the collection's foothold and make the whole case design more compelling.

zenith-chronomaster-heritage-pieces-inspirationThe dial is classic and offers excellent readability, while the integrated steel bracelet, an homage to Gay Frères' designs, helps make the timepiece look equally elegant and sporty. Nonetheless, I think the bracelet should look less mainstream too. Finally, the layout of the multi-colored counter makes each Chronomaster Sport as distinctive as it gets.

Our Zenith Chronomaster Sport

All the product options feature a standard blue, gray, and silver combo. Meanwhile, we spent some time with our graphic designer to imagine how the new Chronomaster Sport would look like when loaded with different color palettes.

zenith-chronomaster-sport-manufacture-edition-black-bezelThere you have it! Our line up includes a Zenith Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition, sporting the three historical shades of blue, paired to a black or blue ceramic bezel.

zenith-chronomaster-sport-manufacture-edition-blue-bezelPlease find above the official dial layout combined with a blue ceramic bezel. Finally, we overhauled the standard model by applying gray and red counters and replaced the central seconds' hand and the counterweight's tip end.

zenith-chronomaster-sport-horbiter-edition-black-bezel-purple-grey-countersLet us know what you think in the comments below. We look forward to discovering if the Swiss manufacturer will consider the new ones as a source of inspiration moving forward.

For further information, please visit: https://www.zenith-watches.com

Photo: (courtesy of Zenith)

Francesco Falcone @Horbiter®

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