Zenith Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition
There's no doubt that Charles Vermot preserved Zenith's future during the quartz crisis' outbreak and a chapter of fine mechanical watchmaking as a whole. His brave spirit defended a generation of master watchmakers, allowed the history of El Primero to keep going by celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in 2019. El Primero is more than just a mechanical movement; it's a milestone in watchmaking, and the "halo" effect that surrounds this name goes far beyond pure engineering. In this regard, the new Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition retains a unique value. It is a nod to the original chronographs, like the 38mm A386 reference, which is highly coveted and sought-after, among Italian vintage watch collectors first and foremost.
A new dial option is often more than enough to change a timepiece's identity and appeal. However, here is a case where things are different since the project filed under the Manufacture Edition's name tells a story that's linked once again to Charles Vermot and his quest to protect Zenith craftsmanship during the darkest days the Swiss industry ever faced. An exciting discovery was made last year, at the brand's historic facility: an unlabelled box was found that stored some El Primero 386 chronograph's prototype dials. To those who are not in the know, the A386 stands out as one of the most eagerly-wanted chronographs Zenith has ever produced, and its average asking prices currently exceed the ten thousand euros threshold, starting with the Mark I option.
We're in front of much more than a "nostalgia" operation since the project uncovers not just an exclusive color variation of the unmistakable three register dial layout, which features three shades of blue. In conceiving the Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition, Zenith designers chose to abide by the original 38mm case design, a golden section among the entire Chronomaster offering. Designers at Zenith opted for an original A386's case and size, which, paired to such new dial, guarantee a rare mixture of beauty and proportions; it is such a compelling design. Matched to the original three-tone blue dial is a white-lacquered layer underneath. New, in comparison to the current Chronomaster's generation, are, therefore, the chapter ring design, along with the hour and minute hands, and, additionally, the Chrono seconds' hand, showcasing no Zenith logo, but a rectangular-shaped tip instead.
Last but not least, the dial displays the old logo carrying the "El Primero" insignia written in Italics, something Italian watch aficionados get crazy for. Regarding overall size, the 38mm large case is 12,60mm thick (you won't find it among the product's specifications, we asked the brand). Case in point, this is one of the most comfortable Zenith El Primero ever produced. It houses the 5Hz standard El Primero movement, capable of at least 50 hours of maximum power reserve, and with a column-wheel mechanism. Coming in at an 8,800 Euro sticker price, it stands out as a collector's piece in my 2020 personal list. The Zenith Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition is currently exclusively available through Zenith's new e-commerce platform. Although it is not limited in production, it ticks all the boxes (much will depend on offer and demand) to see its retail price rise quickly.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Zenith Watches)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®