July 10, 2013
by Ariel Adams
For 2013 Zenith follows the blue road to release a blue-dialed version of the already well-regarded El Primero Stratos Flyback Watch. We first debuted the Zenith Stratos watch when it originally came out in 2011. 2013 sees a lot of blue watches, something that I personally have no problem with as a nice blue sports watch can look fantastic. And isn’t that just the thing we have here? The blue bezel on blue dial with white and not a hint of red make for a airy-looking Stratos that looks primed for the sky.
The typically red chronograph seconds hand is a lighter sky blue color on this model, which is a most appreciated detail. An all steel watch with a blue and white dial is a timeless look that is personified here. Zenith calls the dial “Blue Sunray,” and it does have a sunray finish on the metallic surface, but I wouldn’t call it too shiny – which is good. Whilst the standard Stratos with the black dial is very much a strong and masculine design, it is also very serious looking. This blue version retains what you like about the Stratos, but offers it in a bit more of a casual manner.
As always, the Zenith Stratos watch is 45.5mm wide and again in a steel case for this version. Though come to think of it, an 18k rose gold would look really interesting with the blue bezel and dial. The bezel is again in ceramic, with etched sections painted in for the minute indicators. I’ve mentioned this before, but it is worth noting that the rotating bezel is sloped inwards somewhat, which makes for a much more challenging production when it comes to making the ceramic bezel inserts. The bold dial is imminently legible with properly sized hands that are coated in lume. Given the mix of military looks and polished elements, I think that the Stratos makes for a very good dressy sports watch… that is still undeniably a sports watch.
Inside this and all other El Primero Stratos Flyback watches is the in-house made Zenith El Primero Caliber 405B automatic movement. The chronograph has a flyback feature and uses a column wheel. It has about 50 hours of power reserve and being an El Primero, it is a high beat, 36,000 bph movement. The 405 series has a very good history, stemming from the very first integrated chronograph watch movement in the 1970s that was produced by Zenith.