October 24, 2013
by James Stacey
Hot on the heels of the incredibly cool El Primero Lightweight, Zenith has launched another limited edition El Primero, dubbed the 410 LE. The 410 is based on a very rare vintage El Primero model from the 70’s that looked almost identical, save for the original model’s smaller 38mm case. You can see an example here, said to be 1 of 25, sold by Christie’s in 2012. Sporting a couple of updates, the new El Primero sticks with the vintage formula and offers an homage to a hard-to-find and rather desirable piece from Zenith’s past.
Based around a 42mm case, the El Primero 410 is a textbook nod to a successful design from the early 70’s. On this modern version, the sub dials appear a bit smaller, but that could be attributed to the larger dial. The dial remains a slate grey, with updated hour markers and a cleaner use of dial text. There is a date display between four and five, as well as day and month apertures above the sub dials at three and nine. Joining the calendar, a moon phase display is incorporated into the six o’clock (12 hour) chronograph sub dial. The layout is nearly identical to the legacy model, even down to the star emblems placed next to the calendar displays. The dial is finished with a red chrono seconds hand that trades the lume block of the vintage piece for a Zenith star counterbalance that is more in keeping with their current designs. The 410 LE is a great looking reference to Zenith’s heritage and I think they’ve selected an excellent design that blends the sporty El Primero chronograph aesthetic with a traditional feature set like the full calendar and moon phase.
Supporting these features is the El Primero 410 automatic chronograph movement with 31 jewels, 390 components and a power reserve of 50 hours. Visibile through a sapphire display back, the 410 beats at 36,000 vph, a rate that has become a signature of Zenith’s El Primero line. The 410 LE also features a sapphire crystal with a dual side anti-reflective treatment and water resistance of 100m. I have always enjoyed Zenith’s ornate but functional sense of style and the 410 LE is a good example of this duality.
The 410 LE has a very busy dial showing a variety of information that is offered in a manner that is both legible and functional. From the large time display to the chronograph sub dials, the features are meant to be enjoyed as a detailed whole but the user can quickly segment each feature for its intended use. I generally prefer simple and highly functional designs, so I have to hand it to Zenith as they often balance a functional display along with the inclusion of complex and eye catching elements and finishing.
The El Primero 410 LE is limited to 500 units and will cost $10,400 USD, so if you like the look of the rarefied 1970’s model but don’t want to pony up the 40K that it commanded at Christie’s last year, Zenith’s got covered with this new limited edition chronograph. zenith-watches.com