Zenith just dropped a timely (pun intended) reminder that you can, in fact, teach an old dog new tricks.
The Zenith El Primero A386 was among the original three references of the model released in 1969 alongside the A385 and A385. Of the three, the A386 is arguably the most well-known, popular and instantly recognizable for its signature round case shape and tri-coloured chronograph registers—a style that has persisted in the El Primero collection for over 50 years. The modern reincarnation of the A386 lives on in Zenith’s Chronomaster Original line, which was just added as a permanent fixture of the brand’s catalog just two years ago. Today we get a black dial variation of the model with tricoloured registers for the first time.
There had already been black dial variations within Zenith’s Chronomaster Sport lineup of chronographs, whose sportier look includes a ceramic bezel in complementary black. Now we get the bonus of both classic white and contemporary black variations within the Chronomaster Original family. Its distinct look, which mimics the original A386, lacks a bezel and features a round 38mm stainless steel case with a domed sapphire crystal. Here, several elements of the colour palette have been inverted to align with the new black dial including the date window rendered in black as well as the 1/10th of a second and 10-second chronograph scales around the periphery of the dial.
Powering the all-new black dial Chronomaster Original is the latest version of Zenith’s El Primero calibre, dubbed the El Primero 3600. With its high frequency of 5 Hz (36,000 VpH), the movement offers a true 1/10th of a second indication and can be seen through the exhibition case back. The Chronomaster Original with a black tricolour dial joins the line as a permanent part of the collection in two variations, one with a bracelet priced at US$10,000 and one with a coordinating black calfskin leather strap priced at US$9,500. Both iterations are available at Zenith boutiques and authorised retailers around the world.
Previously published on Robb Report.