Insider: Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Grande Date Full Open 45 mm. Hands-on with a Beautifully Skeletonized Watch.

If you like skeletonized watches but you can't afford to go with an independent brand like Armin Strom or with an openworked Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet, lately Zenith has been doing a great job at adding skeletonization to their watches. Therefore, the new Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Grande Date Full Open ref. 51.2530.4047/78.C810 could be the perfect option as far as a skeletonized watch without having to break the bank.

Very similar in looks to the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Grande Date released in 2014, the new Grande Date Full Open adds a touch of greatness to this collection. Fitted with a two-tone case in stainless steel and 18K rose gold case measuring 45 mm in diameter and equipped with a brown calfskin rubber lined strap with triple folding clasp, the watch is much more modern looking than its Chonomaster predecessors that have the partial opening on their dials between 9 and 11 o'clock.

The Dial

Fitted with a sapphire crystal dial that allows for full view of the movement's base plate, the layout is nice and well balanced with a red 'big date' indicator at 2 o'clock that is composed by two satin-brushed finished date wheels with a red plate underneath them.

At 3 o'clock, one can find a 30-minute chronograph register with blue concentric circles and a red tipped hand, at 9 a small seconds indicator and at 6 o'clock a beautiful day/night indicator with sun and moon.

Without a doubt, the day/night indicator is one of the most prominent features of this dial and the one that takes the center stage with its yellow and light blue color palette and its very realistic moon.

Featuring rose gold-plated faceted applied markers and rose gold-plated faceted hands with superluminova inlays, the visibility of the movement underneath the dial is barely obstructed and a real treat for the eyes, especially at 10 o'clock where one can appreciate the balance wheel oscillating at 36,000 vph and the silicon escapement with its purpluish hue at 9 o'clock.

The Case

The case in stainless steel is exquisitely finished with the traditional 'El Primero' case construction with angled lugs, round pump chrono pushers, satin-brushed finish, pull out crown with Zenith star and a faceted mirror polished 18K rose gold bezel. Unlike other two-tone Chronomasters, the pushers and crown are not made of 18K rose gold but of stainless steel. A decision that was probably made to either cut costs and maintain pricing down or simply to give the watch a more contemporary look.

The Movement

Fitted with a display case back, the Zenith El Primero 4047B automatic calibre is fully visible. This automatic movement is composed of 332 parts and 32 jewels to provide a power reserve of 50 hours while beating at a frequency of 36,000 vph. The finishing on the movement is extremely well done and unlike other Zenith El Primero Chronomasters the oscillating weight doesn't feature gilded accents but black lacquer ones.

The Strap

The brown calfskin strap is very supple and well padded featuring stitching in its same color. The strap is equipped with the traditional triple folding clasp that when fastened, looks like as if the watch came with a pin buckle.

On the Wrist & Pricing

On the wrist, the new Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Grande Date Full Open wears true to its size and with much better wrist presence than other El Primero Chronomaster watches in the collection. The skeletonized dial makes this watch very modern and for the money, you're getting a lot of watch.

When compared to the previous iteration of the two-tone El Primero Chronomaster Grande Date we featured here back in 2014, the new Chronomaster Full Open is a much better deal. While the pricing for its predecessor was almost close to $18K, this watch is much cheaper just by not having its crown and pushers in 18K rose gold.  

Sticker Price $12,200 USD. For more info on Zenith click here.