Released in January at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, we were finally able to get our hands on the new Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition during Baselworld 2017. Since many of you might mistaken this watch with the Zenith El Primero Range Rover Special Edition, let's clarify that there are two different watches released by Zenith in partnership with Land Rover. While the Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition we have here sports a grey dial with copper-toned details and a ceramized aluminum case, the El Primero Range Rover Special Edition features the same case construction but with a charcoal grey dial with black accents. While we are not crazy about the limited edition watch approach that Zenith has taken in the past couple of years, we do need to admit that the new Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition is a really nice watch.
Sporting a 42 mm case in matte black ceramized aluminum, the Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition looks very rugged and sporty. Similar in looks and feel to the matte black ceramic cases of the Tudor Fastrider line, the Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition features round pump pushers and a ratcheted crown. Perhaps the biggest attribute of this ceramized case is that it seems to be slightly lighter than traditional ceramic cases. Additionally, the watch is equipped with an anti-reflective coated cambered sapphire crystal and is water-resistant to a 100 meters.
As far as the dial goes, the Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition features a brushed grey dial with copper-toned details that make the dial look slightly brownish depending on lighting conditions.
The dial layout is very clean and well balanced with copper-colored applied markers with black accents, running seconds with copper surround at 9 o'clock, 30-minute chrono register with copper surround at 3, recessed 12-hour chrono register and date aperture at 6 o'clock. One thing worth mentioning is that we absolutely love the black calendar disc as it perfectly matches the black accents on the dial, hands and the black tachymetric scale flange.
Whether on the wrist of an intrepid explorer or an elegant gentleman, it also exudes an inimitably chic aura, enhanced by a new black rubber strap coated with black-toned perforated calfskin recreating Great Britain's Union Jack flag. The leather used on the strap is the same high quality hide used on the interiors of Range Rovers and the strap is secured by a triple folding clasp in black DLC-treated titanium.
Fully visible via the display case back, one can appreciate the legendary El Primero 400B automatic chronograph movement composed of 326 parts and 31 jewels. When fully wound, the movement provides a power reserve of 50 hours. The movement is very nicely finished and the traditional semi-skeletonized oscillating weight with the Zenith star has been engraved with 'Zenith El Primero' and 'Range Rover' on it —also appearing on the case back ring.
On the Wrist & Price
On the wrist, the Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Velar Special Edition wears true to its size and quite nicely. While we absolutely love the looks and craftsmanship of this particular watch, the fact that this is yet another limited edition with Range Rover kills it for us. We understand and appreciate limited edition watches in partnership with other brands when it makes sense and when they can correlate flawlessly; however, in this case, we feel that Zenith is trying to push the envelope too far just as they are doing it with their Rolling Stones limited editions where we can't see the connection. It is time for Zenith to head back to the drawing board and release limited edition watches that make sense in terms of their history, positioning and brand equity.
Sticker Price $8,700 USD. For more info on Zenith click here.