March 19, 2015
by James Stacey
It’s open season for Baselworld 2015 releases and Zenith has joined the chorus with a new chronograph simply called the Zenith El Primero Sport. Sporting (sorry) a recognizable Zenith design language and a large steel case, the Zenith El Primero Sport looks like a no-nonsense automatic chronograph from one of oldest names in the game.
To create a sportier version of the Zenith El Primero chronograph, Zenith opted for a 45mm steel case similar in size to that of the El Primero Lightweight. Knowing they had the movement on lock, Zenith outfitted the Zenith El Primero Sport with a screw down crown and pushers (ensuring 200m water resistance) and an upsized and luminous set of hands and markers.
Buyers will have the choice of a slate grey (above) or light silver (bottom) dial and both feature a bright red seconds hand and matching “36,000 VPH” text. Being an El Primero, the Zenith El Primero Sport rocks Zenith’s 5Hz El Primero 400 B automatic integrated column wheel movement. With a maximum measure of 12 hours and a resolution of 1/10th of a second, the 400 B is no slouch, and it finds a natural fit in a watch like the Zenith El Primero Sport.
Beyond the choice of dial color, Zenith has also optioned three different mounts for the Zenith El Primero Sport, including a brown alligator strap, a metal bracelet with a triple folding clasp, and a rubber strap. I really like the look of the slate dial on the rubber strap (below), it gives the Zenith El Primero Sport a bit of a motorsport vibe that works really well with the red seconds hand.
The dial is pure El Primero but when compared against many of it’s siblings, the hands and markers appear to have been enlarged. Legibility looks to be excellent and, just as to be expected on an El Primero, there is a tachymetre scale along the outer edge of the dial.
A quick scan of the current Zenith El Primero helps to explain the choice of a 45mm case. While there are many options at 42mm, the 45mm sizing has been mostly reserved for for more expensive pieces like Stratos Flyback Rainbow or the Chronomaster Bullitt. If you prefer your watches on the larger side, it’s hard to argue a solid chronograph that adds uncommon (to Zenith) features like screw-down crowns and 200m water resistance.
The Zenith El Primero Sport will be priced from $11,000 USD on a strap and $11,600 USD on the steel bracelet, making it a more accessible entry point than that offered by most of Zenith’s other 45mm alternatives. If Zenith can find customers who want 45mm watches (not a tough task), then the Zenith El Primero Sport should prove to be very appealing. zenith-watches.com
Keep up with our pre-, post-, and live Baselworld 2015 coverage here.