July 26, 2013
by David Bredan
For over a decade now, Zenith’s El Primero 4021 movement have been beating inside their Chronomaster line of watches. Much like Zenith itself, this collection had its ups and downs only to finally become stronger and more appealing than ever. Now we are looking at a very exclusive version of the Chronomaster Power Reserve model: a limited edition of only 10 pieces sold in the UK from the The Watch Gallery.
This specific model is a lovely connection between Zenith’s historic designs from the sixties and seventies and its more modern looks. The case, in stainless steel with a diameter of 42mm, definitely has a considerable retro feel to it with its sharp lugs, thin bezel and its piston-style chrono pushers. On the other hand, owing to the circular-ish opening of the dial, there is a lot of action constantly going on. First of all there is the balance wheel performing 10 semi-oscillations every second, then there is the interaction between the escape wheel and the pallet fork – colored purple and blue, respectively, as seen in the image below -, and finally the fourth wheel with a tiny ‘propeller’ attached to it to act as a seconds hand. Whenever the watch is running, this aperture gives a very modern and dynamic touch to the otherwise retro look.
Some previous Chronomaster models’ legibility suffered quite badly from the fact that the hour hand and the one used to indicate the power reserve were very similar both in size and shape. Fortunately that is not case here. The lovely faceted hour, minute and small seconds hands all are easy to distinguish and make reading of the time easy while also providing a more confident appearance to the watch.
Still, in my eyes the best aesthetic feature this limited edition has to offer is the unique dial colored with The Watch Gallery blue – it certainly is a superbly elegant choice. The unique hue nicely matches the chronograph’s seconds hand and the exposed blued screws around the aperture. Finally, to further enhance the exclusivity of the piece, blue stitching is used for the black alligator strap and there is a unique 1-10 numbering on the case back.