Zenith is one of the greatest names in the horological world that needs very little introduction. Established in 1865 by George Favre-Jacot, this manufacture quickly became an institution in Le Locle Switzerland. In 1900, Zenith presented its first chronograph at the Universal Exhibition in Paris and was awarded the 'Grand Prix'. Seventeen years later, Zenith started manufacturing instruments for the U.S. Military forces and quickly became the leading brand for chronographs. For over 148 years, the values of the Zenith Manufacture have been precision, exclusivity and beauty underlined by its pioneer spirit and craftsmanship. From this obsession with precision, Zenith has received 2,333 Chronometry Prizes with more than 600 movement variations developed.
The Captain Moonphase ref. 03.2140.691/02.C498 is a watch that clearly embodies Zenith's fine watchmaking heritage and superb craftsmanship. This watch is available in stainless steel or rose gold and is fitted with a case measuring 40mm in diameter and 10.35mm in thickness. The watch case is very nicely finished with a combination of satin brushed and highly polished areas. The beveled lugs present beautiful and elegant 'chamfers' and the back of the watch features a display case back that allows for full view of the automatic calibre Elite 691.
The dial on the Captain Moonphase is a perfect example of why this manufacture is one of the top names in the horological world. The domed dial features a silver toned 'guilloché' center, faceted rhodium-plated applied markers and a minute track on the outermost part. The moon phase aperture is located at 6, the small seconds at 9 and a 'grande' date aperture between 1 and 2 o'clock. The traditional Zenith star is located at 12 right above the Zenith logo. The dial presents and array of textures that are a treat to the eyes and pure perfection. To complete the classic look of the dial, the watch is fitted with rhodium-plated 'dauphine' faceted hands that just like the markers, have no luminous material on them —this would've been a nice addition to this already fantastic timepiece.
The watch is fitted with a curved —slightly domed— sapphire crystal that is treated with anti-reflective coating on both sides allowing the owner to fully appreciate its dial regardless of the lighting conditions.
The beating heart inside this elegant and classic watch is the Zenith Elite 691 automatic calibre that is composed of 228 parts, 27 jewels and that provides a power reserve of at least 50 hours when fully wound. The movement is nicely finished with 'Côtes de Genève' on its rotor that happens to be skeletonized featuring the iconic Zenith star. The movement beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph and is one of the most precise and accurate movements we have reviewed lately —over a period of five days the watch only gained a total of eight seconds.
The time and date are set via the crown —featuring the Zenith star—, while the moon phase disc is advanced via a push-piece located at 8 o'clock. The watch includes a metallic stylus to adjust the moon phase. Unfortunately the tip of the stylus is not protected with rubber or plastic which results on potential scratching of the case while performing the adjustment. One thing we did notice, is that the push-piece clicks very smoothly and is not necessary to put too much pressure on it as compared to the push-pieces on other 'haute horlogerie' timepieces from other manufactures.
To round-up its elegant look, this watch is fitted with a chocolate brown —almost black looking under low light— alligator strap with protective rubber lining. The strap is secured with a stainless steel pin buckle. An optional triple-folding clasp is available upon request. The strap is extremely nice but it requires a break-in period as it's quite stiff when new. Even though the watch is rated waterproof to 50 meters, we wouldn't dare to get such nice strap wet.
The watch wears very comfortably and true to its size and is a perfect timepiece to be worn with a suit on those busy days when you have client meetings.
Sticker Price $7,600 USD. For more info on Zenith click here.