Insider: Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow. Hands-On Review of a Very Nice Column-Wheel Chronograph Under $10K USD.

This time, we bring you our in-depth hands-on review with a very large number of live pictures we took under natural light and our recommendation on why you should get this exceptional chronograph from our friends from Le Locle. The Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow ref. 03.2061.405/21.M2060 just like most of the timepieces in the Stratos Flyback collection, is fitted with a robust and very solid case measuring 45 mm in diameter that features a highly polished case with alternating satin brushed finished lugs. A heir to the Zenith military chronograph legacy, the new El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow pays tribute to the 1997 Zenith Rainbow watch, but in our opinion, with a much nicer design that will take the test of time way better.

The Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow is fitted with a matte black dial with a running seconds register at 9, a 12-hour chrono register and date aperture at 6, a 30-minute multicolor register at 3 o'clock, Arabic numerals and a telemeter scale flange. A telemeter chronograph allows the user to approximately measure the distance to an event that can be both seen and heard —i.e. lightning—using the speed of sound. The user should start the chronograph at the instant the event is seen and stop it at the moment the event is heard. The chrono seconds hand will point to the distance measured on the scale around the edge of the face. The telemeter scale shows kilometers in the case of this watch.

Now, even when the layout of the dial between this new El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow and its predecessor didn't change much —other than relocating the date aperture to the 6 o'clock position— and the new model is 5 mm bigger than the original Rainbow, the dial seems slightly cluttered because all the registers had to be moved closer to the center of the dial to make room for the date aperture at the bottom. Regardless, the dial is still very easy to read and extremely nicely done with the new applied raised numerals in superluminova and its faceted hands also inlaid with superluminova.

The dial, with its colorful 30-minute chrono register at 3 o'clock, along with the fluorescent pink hands for the seconds and minutes of the chrono, has enough pop to call for attention but not as loud as you would imagine. When exposed to UV light, the fluorescent pink on the hands comes to life, an ideal touch for those watchlifestylers still enjoying the club life.

The unidirectional rotating bezel is very easy to use, but somewhat loud clicking and not very smooth when turning it around. The red metallic numbers against the black background of the bezel are a nice touch, but depending on lighting conditions, they seem to get somewhat lost. The bezel insert features a superluminova pearl at 12 o'clock and the shape of the insert is concave. The watch features rectangular pushers instead of round pushers as its predecessor as well as a screw-down crown that is robust and easy to use.

To guarantee uncompromised readability, the Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow is fitted with a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides.

Fitted with a display case back, the exceptional automatic calibre El Primero 405 B is fully visible and a treat for the eyes. This legendary movement composed of 331 parts features a column-wheel flyback chronograph mechanism with 31 jewels and provides a power reserve of 50 hours while beating at a frequency of 36,000 vph. Regardless of having a display case back, the watch is water resistant to a 100 meters, just remember to not activate the chronograph underwater.

The El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow is fitted with a very solid satin brushed finished stainless steel bracelet with polished center links and triple folding clasp with deployant mechanism. The bracelet features removable screws on every single link to ease its sizing and the watch feels quite solid and top heavy. The total weight of the watch is 189 grams.

On the wrist, the watch wears slightly bigger than its actual size. For those of you with a wrist size smaller than 7.25" in circumference, this watch might feel too clunky and over-sized considering its diameter and thickness at 14.1 mm. Since we like to call a spade a spade, we can tell you that for the price, the Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow is one of the best chronographs money can buy under $10K USD.

Once you put the new Rainbow on your wrist, be prepared to have other watchlifestylers start guessing how much you paid for it as this watch looks like a much more expensive timepiece and loaded with all the watch pedigree you could ask for as well as exceptional craftsmanship.

Sticker Price $9,300 USD. For more info on Zenith click here.