Rare Bird: Zenith El Primero Striking 10th Limited Edition. Equipped with 'Foudroyante' Seconds and 36,000 vph.

The Zenith El Primero Striking Tenth limited edition is without a doubt, one of our favorite chronographs out there and one, that you rarely run into. Released in 2010 in a limited edition of 1969 pieces in stainless steel or 500 pieces in 18K rose gold, its case measuring 42 mm, features the traditional faceted straight lugs of the iconic El Primero chronograph. Christened 'El Primero' —meaning ‘the first'— and presented on January 10th 1969. Its exceptional performance made it possible to develop and launch two calibres, the '3019 PHC' for the chronograph with date and the '3019 PHF' for the chronograph with triple date and moon phase.

At a time when the trend was for tone-on-tone dials, Zenith played on contrasting effects to improve the readability of the chronograph counters with the lightest shade of grey for the running seconds and the darkest for the hours, with an intermediate hue for the minutes. The options chosen back then were light grey, anthracite and blue —a combination that would soon become iconic and that is also present in this limited edition. But what makes the Zenith El Primero Striking 10th Limited Edition more special, is the fact that the wearer can measure elapsed times all the way down to 1/10 —one tenth— of a second thanks to its 'foudroyante' red central seconds hand and the outer chapter ring on its dial.

In performing 10 jumps per second, the seconds and chronograph hands mark off tenths of a second. The layout of the dial features running seconds at 9 o'clock, chronograph seconds register at 3 and 60-minute chrono register at 6 o'clock with a date aperture underneath. The best part is when one activates the chronograph and the 'foudroyante' seconds hand spins around the dial extremely fast.

As the red 'foudroyante' seconds —jumping seconds— central hand does a full revolution around the dial, the chrono seconds register will mark that only 10 seconds have elapsed. This way, when the user starts and stops the chronograph, he/she can read the elapsed time down to a 10th of a second, a second and a minute.

Powering this special limited edition is the Zenith in-house automatic calibre 4052B with 31 jewels beating at a high frequency of 36,000 vph to provide a power reserve of 50 hours when fully wound. As with all other Zenith movements, the finish and decoration of the calibre is really exceptional.

The Zenith El Primero Striking 10th Limited Edition was released with a brown alligator rubber lined strap with pin buckle for both the stainless steel and 18K rose gold references. For the stainless steel version there was also the option to have the watch on matching stainless steel bracelet.

On the wrist, this is one of the most unique chronographs out there, especially when the chrono function is activated and the 'foudroyante' hands goes around at crazy speed. While most people keeping track of elapsed times down to tenths of a second would be using a digital stopwatch, this is still one of the most noble horological complications out there and one that would definitely be a conversation piece that looks ultra cool when the chronograph is in use.

Approximate Sticker Price Depending on Condition $6,500-8,000 USD. For more info on Zenith click here.

Posted on April 22, 2016 and filed under Zenith.