There’s not always a clear rhyme or reason why a prototype doesn’t make it into regular production. More often than not, great ideas are left on the cutting room floor if the product couldn’t hit a certain price point, or if it just wasn’t the best idea executed at just the right time. In the case of an obscure blacked-out Zenith El Primero prototype (then nicknamed “Ghost”) from 1970, we might never know why it wasn’t ever made — in a recent conversation, Zenith CEO Julien Tornare himself certainly didn’t, but he knew immediately after it was rediscovered that it was the perfect reference to be formally produced for a modern audience. Thus, the Chronomaster “Shadow” was born into a bead-blasted titanium A384 case.
Model: Chronomaster Revival ‘”Shadow”
Water Resistance: 50 meters
Case Material: micro-blasted titanium
Movement: El Primero 4061 Automatic column-wheel chronograph
Frequency: 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Strap/Bracelet: black Cordura style strap and white stitching. Microblasted titanium pin buckle
Price & Availability: $8,200
Since it was announced last summer, Zenith has been on fire with the A384 chronograph, which has gone on to be a favorite for collaborations and, more recently, even received a period-correct Gay Freres bracelet reproduction, as well. It should come as no surprise — demand for modern-production chronographs with vintage proportions still remains at an all-time high, and this 37mm reference hits that sweet spot for most collectors. The A384 is also a platform that takes interesting embellishments quite well — like the new Shadow, with its stark, monochromatic vibe, and a feather-light feel on the wrist, thanks to the titanium case. And like we saw with the recent Defy 21 Land Rover edition, the titanium case gets a dramatic bead-blasted finish that reads black or a very dark gunmetal depending on the available light. In person, it’s quite possibly the best not-actually-black black watch you’ll ever handle, and a stone-cold awesome way to bring the blacked-out military chronograph aesthetic from the seventies and eighties into the modern age.
After stealing a peek at it on the wrist of Zenith CEO Julien Tornare at a recent New York City event, it’s hard not to imagine this being another big hit for Zenith, but just how big will the brand let it get? The Revival “Shadow” is not a limited edition in the traditional sense, but Zenith has hinted that this’ll likely get a limited production run — and just how long it’ll be in production is anyone’s guess. Once again, the Chronomaster “Shadow” has a price of $8,200. Learn more at zenith-watches.com.