September 22, 2022
by Mike Razak
Zenith has just dropped a delightful blue version of its open-dial Chronomaster Open, which is set to be a boutique edition, only available from physical and online boutiques. We covered the release of the updated Chronomaster Open earlier this year. The idea is simple: take the Chronomaster and show off the latest El Primero movement. The first batch of Open models included silver and black dials, as well as a gold cased version. I’m not sure that a blue dial is exciting as far as boutique editions go, but that’s what Zenith decided to do, and I won’t argue that it’s not a nice color.
As with the other Chronomaster Open models, the dial is the main attraction with the Chronomaster Open Boutique Edition. Here, Zenith has used a deep sunburst blue for the main dial, and maintained the tri-color subdials, with a radial gray 60-minute counter at 6, a radial silver 60-second counter at 3, and a running seconds at 9 made of hesalite glass. As far as the chronograph is concerned, the 1/10th second central chronograph hand is sure to provide the most excitement as it flies around the dial. The most obvious enticement, though, is the beveled aperture from 9 to 11, with the hesalite subdial and displaying the silicon escape wheel and balance wheel. Of note, the dial omits the El Primero’s signature date window, a wise choice given the busyness created by the open dial. The case remains the same: 39.5mm in diameter, 45mm lug-to-lug, 100m water resistance, with a blend of polishing and brushing. It’s attached to a fitted bracelet with matched finishing and a folding clasp with microadjustments; at this point, I’d like to see Zenith introduce a quick-adjust clasp as many other brands have done, but I suppose a boutique edition of an existing model isn’t the time.
The Chronomaster Open would be nothing without its movement, the in-house El Primero Calibre 3604. The descendent of the original El Primero movement, the 3604 is more directly a modified version of the 3600 that debuted in the smash-hit Chronomaster Sport. The 3604 features a number and open base plate and bridges to facilitate the open dial. With the movement family’s usual 5hz frequency, the it boasts a power reserve of 60 hours and decoration befitting a modern in-house movement. Of particular note are the silicon escape wheel and pallet lever which increase longevity and durability with antimagentic and lubrication-free operation. The El Primero is an iconic movement family, so any tampering must be undertaken carefully; Zenith here has made just the changes necessary to sell the open dial concept, so purists should still be satisfied.
Again, no one is going to deny that this is a nice-looking watch, and I’m sure this one will sell very well. Blue, after all, is still a popular color for watches (despite recently almost having been eclipsed by green). At the very least, this new offering adds a bit of color to the greyscale options previously available. The Zenith Chronomaster Open Boutique Edition is priced at $10,000 USD and available only at physical and online boutiques, though will not be limited. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.