As a unique collaboration with the MIH (the Musée International d’Horlogerie), Zenith introduces a great new member of their Captain family of watches. With a base in-house made El Primero Chronograph movement, Zenith and the MIH have developed a special new module that adds a very legible and practical annual calendar complication to the mix. In total you get the high-beat El Primero automatic movement, a 60 minute chronograph, and an annual calendar with the date, day, and month. All that and a lit Ludwig.
Ludwig? Yea, you know Ludwig right? I of course mean Ludwig Oechslin, and by MIH I really him. He is the curator of the MIH and a friggin’ genius. One of his most interesting achievements was the creation of the “trilogy” set of astronomical watches for Ulysse Nardin in the 1990s. Oechslin is unique because he didn’t start his life as a watch maker until he was about 30. Before that he was a mathematician. He is particularly good at engineering concepts requiring complex calculations. Admittedly, an annual calendar is not the type of thing that would blow his mind, but the Captain Winsor movement he design for Zenith is elegant and very practical.
Zenith calls the new movement their El Primero caliber 4054 automatic. Under the dial is a triple disc system that indicates the three pieces of information for the annual calendar. The result is easy information indicated in windows. The day and month are located next to each other at 3 o’clock while the date is placed at 6 o’clock. The rest of the items on the dial (aside from the time) are the subsidiary seconds dial (at 9 o’clock) and the minute counter for the chronograph. For legibility, Zenith makes the chronograph hands their own color – here blue. Well the blue dialed version doesn’t get this treatment unfortunately.
The movement is visible through a sapphire caseback window and has a power reserve of about 50 hours. Being an El Primero is operates at 5 hertz (36,000 bph). This means that it is theoretically more accurate and allows the column-wheel based chronograph to be accurate to 1/10 of a second. If you’ve been wanting an El Primero by need a bit more than just a chronograph in your life, this Captain Winsor might be a good choice.
For the classic look of the watch the case size of 42mm wide is appropriate. Zenith will offer it in steel as well as 18k rose gold. The dial is guilloche machine engraved with applied hour indicators and properly sized hands. Zenith is really leading the market today with mainstream models that have hands the right length. The steel version has either a steel and blue or steel and gold dial. The watch has a sapphire crystal and is water resistant to 50 meters. Zenith offers it attached to a black or brown leather strap. Overall an attractive piece with a lot of inherent functionality, and the Ludwig Oechslin connection is just the icing on the cake for me.