This time we are presenting you the brand new just released at Baselworld 2014, Zenith El Primero Lightweight ref. 10.2260.400/69.R573. It is important that we clarify that this new watch is quite different to its predecessor the El Primero Lightweight Limited Edition to 100 pieces released at the end of September of 2013. The immediate tell-tale between both watches is the difference in the chronograph mechanism —12-hour chronograph vs. 60-minute chronograph with striking 10th on last year's model. Additionally, there are cosmetic differences that help differentiate one from the other such as the writing on the sapphire crystal —36,000 vph vs. 1/10 Of A Second—, the chronograph seconds hand in blue and lastly the blue accent surrounding the flange.
Known for their ability to combine technological innovation with creative daring, the engineers and watchmakers of the Zenith Manufacture were entrusted with the mission of developing a light watch with a sporty design, while making no compromises on precision, sturdiness and reliability —just as one optimizes an engine intended for competition.
The sizable feat began with the movement. Drawing upon its latest research on new materials, Zenith selected titanium —a light and sturdy material widely used in aeronautics— to build the movement bridges. The Manufacture also opted to use silicon, with the lever and escape wheel made from this high-tech, anti-magnetic material that is three and a half times lighter than classic alloys, harder than steel and a guarantee of excellent efficiency. El Primero 400B Titanium calibre is 25% less heavy than a classic El Primero calibre and is the lightest chronograph calibre on the market weighing 15.9 grams. The calibre is composed of 328 parts, 31 jewels, oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” pattern decorated with the Spindrift logo and it provides a power reserve of 50 hours.
The watch is available in a limited edition of 250 pieces and is distinguished by its 45 mm carbon and aluminum case with titanium pushers and crown that reveal the extreme nature of this ultra-sporty chronograph.
The openworked dial provides another bird’s eye view of this legendary movement, a dynamic reinterpretation of the collection’s classic design characteristics. The transparency of the central part makes it even lighter and provides a clear view of the skeleton-worked El Primero calibre. The disc-type date display is also both light and efficient thanks to cut-out stencil-style numerals standing out against a red dot at 6 o’clock.
The generously hollowed-out faceted hour-markers bear a luminescent coating, while the light grey, blue and anthracite counters pick up the three emblematic colors of the 1969 El Primero chronograph that have become one of the collection’s key signature features. The blue central sweep-seconds chronograph hand with its small Zenith star is accurate to the nearest tenth of a second.
On the wrist, the watch is light as a feather but with strong wrist presence. Any watchlifestyler that is a true connoisseur, can appreciate the years of research and development that went into this timepiece before becoming a reality. Next time you are base jumping off of the cliffs in Norway, make sure nothing weighs you down while you are gliding down in your gliding suit.
Sticker Price $19,000 USD. For more info on Zenith click here.