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Zenith

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Luxury watches from Zenith represent precision, quality, and reliability. The El Primero was the first automatic chronograph caliber developed in the world. Its 2017 successor can measure 1/100th of a second. More

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Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Mens Watch 44mm - 95.9000.9004/78.
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Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Mens Watch 44mm - 95.9000.9004/78.
$9,399
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WatchShopping.com Inc.
317
US
Zenith Defy Classic Mens Watch 41mm - 95.9000.670/51.R790
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Zenith Defy Classic Mens Watch 41mm - 95.9000.670/51.R790
$4,419
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WatchShopping.com Inc.
317
US
Zenith El Primero Skeleton Rolling Stones 49.2521.400/98.C755
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Zenith El Primero Skeleton Rolling Stones 49.2521.400/98.C755
$7,567
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Uhren2000 GmbH
366
DE
Zenith up to $4,000
Zenith $4,000 - $8,000
Zenith Elite Ultra Thin 18.2010.681-01.C498
Zenith Elite Ultra Thin 18.2010.681-01.C498
$5,990
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Exquisite Timepieces
21
US
Zenith 03.2050.4026/91.c719 El Primero Split Second Chronograp...
Zenith 03.2050.4026/91.c719 El Primero Split Second Chronograp...
$6,700
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European Watch Company
170
US
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero  Full Open 42 Edition
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Full Open 42 Edition
$6,980
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The Luxury Well
149
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 03.2040.4061/69.C496
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 03.2040.4061/69.C496
$5,450
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WatchBox
330
US
Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Mens Watch 44mm - 49.9000.9004/78.
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Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Mens Watch 44mm - 49.9000.9004/78.
$9,399
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WatchShopping.com Inc.
317
US
Zenith Defy Classic/ An Lager/ In Stock
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Zenith Defy Classic/ An Lager/ In Stock
$5,759
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Ronald Grob, Exklusive Zeitmesser
144
CH
Best price
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Zenith El Primero
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Zenith El Primero
$4,689
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Bijouterie-Horlogerie Langel
55
CH
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Automatic Bronze
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Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Automatic Bronze
$4,200
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Private Seller
 
US
Zenith Captain Chronograph 03-2110-400-22-C493 Watch with...
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Zenith Captain Chronograph 03-2110-400-22-C493 Watch with...
$3,474
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Crown & Caliber
117
US
Zenith Defy Xtreme Open El Primero 03.0531.4021-21.R672
Zenith Defy Xtreme Open El Primero 03.0531.4021-21.R672
$6,900
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Exquisite Timepieces
21
US
Zenith CP-2 Vintage A. Cairelli Italian Air Force (A.M.I)...
Zenith CP-2 Vintage A. Cairelli Italian Air Force (A.M.I)...
$15,500
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European Watch Company
170
US
Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar Chronograph Fume Special
Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar Chronograph Fume Special
$5,480
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The Luxury Well
149
US
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH 16.2150.400/21.C706
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH 16.2150.400/21.C706
$5,950
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WatchBox
330
US
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 42mm Mens Watch 42mm - 03.204
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 42mm Mens Watch 42mm - 03.204
$5,149
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WatchShopping.com Inc.
317
US
Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
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Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
$46,941
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ZEGG & CERLATI
53
MC
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
$7,500
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BlackTagWatches
95
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Ton Up Stainless Steel
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Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Ton Up Stainless Steel
$3,795
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Watch Noble
16
US
Zenith Captain Chronograph 03-2110-400-22-C493 Watch with...
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Zenith Captain Chronograph 03-2110-400-22-C493 Watch with...
$3,474
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Crown & Caliber
117
US
Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 GMT 96.2430.693-21.C703...
Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 GMT 96.2430.693-21.C703...
$5,200
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Exquisite Timepieces
21
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
$11,400
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HEI
 
US
Zenith Elite Captain Power Reserve 18kt Rose Gold  Silver Dial
Zenith Elite Captain Power Reserve 18kt Rose Gold Silver Dial
$7,980
Free shipping
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The Luxury Well
149
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 51.2041.400/27.C771
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 51.2041.400/27.C771
$5,450
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WatchBox
330
US
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Full Open Grey Steel/Leather...
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Full Open Grey Steel/Leather...
$6,719
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WatchShopping.com Inc.
317
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Bullitt
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Bullitt
$6,500
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Chad Warrick
14
US
Zenith Pilot Doublematic Alarm World Timer GMT Chronograph L
Zenith Pilot Doublematic Alarm World Timer GMT Chronograph L
$14,500
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BlackTagWatches
95
US
Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Chronograph
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Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Chronograph
$4,695
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Watch Noble
16
US
Zenith Captain Chronograph 03-2110-400-22-C493 Watch with...
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Zenith Captain Chronograph 03-2110-400-22-C493 Watch with...
$3,474
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Crown & Caliber
117
US
Zenith Diving Watch with Gay Freres Bracelet
Zenith Diving Watch with Gay Freres Bracelet
$4,250
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Exquisite Timepieces
21
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1966 Legend of Cohiba Edition
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1966 Legend of Cohiba Edition
$10,500
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BuyGoodWatches
 
US
Zenith El Primero Legend of Cohiba Chronograph 18kt Gold Edition
Zenith El Primero Legend of Cohiba Chronograph 18kt Gold Edition
$11,800
Free shipping
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The Luxury Well
149
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Extra Special Bronze 29.2430....
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Extra Special Bronze 29.2430....
$5,450
Free shipping
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WatchBox
330
US
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Silver Aluminium/Rubber 42mm -...
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Silver Aluminium/Rubber 42mm -...
$5,649
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WatchShopping.com Inc.
317
US
Zenith Elite Tourbillon
Zenith Elite Tourbillon
$31,100
Seller
Chad Warrick
14
US
Zenith El Primero Automatic Tourbillon Chronograph
Zenith El Primero Automatic Tourbillon Chronograph
$21,500
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BlackTagWatches
95
US
Zenith Elite Ultra Thin 18k Rose Gold
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Zenith Elite Ultra Thin 18k Rose Gold
$7,000
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Private Seller
 
US
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport 03-2280-400-91-M2280...
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport 03-2280-400-91-M2280...
$4,105
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Crown & Caliber
117
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Tribute to Felix Baumgartner...
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Tribute to Felix Baumgartner...
$4,900
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Exquisite Timepieces
21
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback
$4,995
Free shipping
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BuyGoodWatches
 
US
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport Grey Dial Bracelet
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport Grey Dial Bracelet
$4,790
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The Luxury Well
149
US
Zenith Elite Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 GMT 03.2430.693/21...
Zenith Elite Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 GMT 03.2430.693/21...
$5,450
Free shipping
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WatchBox
330
US
Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback Grey Steel/Leather...
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Zenith Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback Grey Steel/Leather...
$5,199
Free shipping
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WatchShopping.com Inc.
317
US
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH
$5,580
Seller
HEI
 
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Limited Edition
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Limited Edition
$5,600
Seller
BlackTagWatches
95
US
Zenith Elite 18k Rose Gold Automatic 37mm
Zenith Elite 18k Rose Gold Automatic 37mm
$4,500
Seller
AZAD WATCH NYC
10
US
Zenith El Primero 24.2060.405 Watch with Leather, Nylon...
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Zenith El Primero 24.2060.405 Watch with Leather, Nylon...
$4,211
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Crown & Caliber
117
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20
Zenith Pilot Type 20
$4,900
Seller
Chad Warrick
14
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Americas Limited Edition
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Americas Limited Edition
$8,100
Free shipping
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BuyGoodWatches
 
US
Zenith Elite Captain Power Reserve 18kt Rose Gold  Silver...
Zenith Elite Captain Power Reserve 18kt Rose Gold Silver...
$8,480
Free shipping
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The Luxury Well
149
US
Zenith El Primero Defy Classic Open Limited Edition 03.0526.40...
Zenith El Primero Defy Classic Open Limited Edition 03.0526.40...
$4,450
Free shipping
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WatchBox
330
US
Zenith El Primero Espada
Zenith El Primero Espada
$6,600
Seller
HEI
 
US
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Chronograph
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Chronograph
$4,995
Free shipping
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J A Meyer Jewelry & Watches, inc
45
US
Zenith El Primero Synopsis
Zenith El Primero Synopsis
$4,800
Seller
Sea Wave Diamonds
175
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 GMT
Zenith Pilot Type 20 GMT
$3,850
Free shipping
Seller
Nashville Watch LLC
24
US
Zenith Captain Winsor
Zenith Captain Winsor
$5,699
Free shipping
Seller
AB Time Inc.
156
US
Zenith 03.1125.691/01.c490
Zenith 03.1125.691/01.c490
$3,750
Free shipping
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Prestige Time
197
US
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport Land Rover Limited Edition
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport Land Rover Limited Edition
$4,990
Free shipping
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The Luxury Well
149
US
Zenith Elite Star 03.1971.681/80.C754
Zenith Elite Star 03.1971.681/80.C754
$3,450
Free shipping
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WatchBox
330
US
Zenith El Primero Sport
Zenith El Primero Sport
$4,620
Seller
HEI
 
US
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Precision and High Performance since 1865

Luxury watches from Zenith represent precision, quality, and reliability. The El Primero was the first automatic chronograph caliber developed in the world. Its 2017 successor can measure 1/100th of a second.

Highlights

  • Zenith El Primero: first automatic chronograph worldwide
  • El Primero 21 with two escapements, measures 1/100th of a second
  • Top chronographs made of gold and feature a tourbillon
  • Current watches in the Pilot collection have a vintage look

Zenith: Ahead of the Curve

The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Zenith is inseparable from their famous chronograph caliber, the El Primero. This movement was released as 3019 PHC in 1969 and was the first automatic chronograph movement ever produced. Thanks to a balance frequency of 36,000 A/h, it can measure 1/10th of a second. Most chronographs can only measure 1/8th of a second, as they oscillate at 28,800 A/h.

In 2017, the company presented the ultra-modern Zenith El Primero 21 caliber. The successor to the famous El Primero has two escapements, one for displaying the time and the other for chronograph functions. One oscillation system vibrates at 360,000 A/h, allowing it to measure 1/100th of a second, while the other vibrates at 36,000 A/h.

Haute horlogerie highlights from Zenith include the intricate watches in the Academy Christophe Colomb (French for Christopher Columbus) series. The model Zenith Academy Christophe Colomb Equation of Time is a true example of 21st-century watchmaking art. This timepiece won the Best Complicated Watch Prize at the Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève in 2011, one of the most prestigious awards in the world of mechanical watches. Zenith even developed a self-regulating mechanism for this ultra-precise watch, the so-called Gravity Control module. It ensures that the escapement and oscillation systems constantly remain in a horizontal position, regardless of the position of the watch on a wrist. This pioneering system guarantees optimal precision.

How much does a Zenith watch cost?

Zenith is a part of the luxury goods concern LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH), nestled in between TAG Heuer and Hublot. Zenith watches are meant for the young at heart who have an appreciation for tradition, high-quality in-house work, and innovative technology. Movements developed and produced in-house are even featured in some of the Elite collection's introductory models. These women's and men's watches have predominantly classic designs, making them ideal dress watches. Zenith offers high-quality luxury watches that are comparatively affordable. Jean-Claude Biver, the head of LVMH, was instrumental in this strategy of offering affordable luxury watches.

You can find a number of good deals in the vintage market. There are countless pre-owned Zenith wristwatches and pocket watches which you can purchase for just a few hundred euros. Even chronographs with the famous El Primero movement are available pre-owned starting at 1,700 euros. These are often from the 1990s and are in very good or good condition. You should plan on spending at least 3,300 euros for a new model.

Detailed Price Information

Model Price (approx.) Features
Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane, Ref. 18.2212.8805/36.C713 270,000 euros Gravity Control module, rose gold case, power reserve display, 45 mm
Academy Christophe Colomb Equation of Time, Ref. 65.2220.8808/01.C630 170,000 euros Gravity Control module, white gold case, power reserve display, 45 mm
Chronomaster El Primero Tourbillon GFJ, Ref. 18.2520.4805/98.C713 73,000 euros Tourbillon, fusée-and-chain transmission, rose gold case, 45 mm
Chronomaster El Primero Tourbillon, Ref. 18.2280.4035/01.C713 55,000 euros Tourbillon, rose gold case, chronograph, 45 mm
Elite Classic 39, Ref. 18.2290.679/18.C498 7,400 euros Timeless, elegant dress watch; rose gold case; 39 mm
Defy El Primero 21, Ref. 95.9001.9004/01.R582 7,200 euros El Primero 21 with two escapements, measures to 1/100th of a second, power reserve display, titanium case, 44 mm
Chronomaster El Primero 42, Ref. 24.2041.400/21.R576 6,600 euros Ceramic-coated aluminum case, 42 mm, chronograph
Chronomaster El Primero 38, Ref. 03.2150.400/26.C714 5,100 euros Current version of this chronograph with a case size of 38 mm, just like the original
Chronomaster El Primero 42, Ref. 03.2040.400/69.C494 5,000 euros 42 mm, chronograph
Pilot Type 20 Extra Special, Ref. 29.2430.679/21.C753 5,000 euros Retro pilot's watch with an oversized crown, bronze case, 45 mm
Pilot Type 20 Chronograph Ton-Up, Ref. 11.2430.4069/21.C773 5,500 euros Chronograph, aged stainless steel case, 45 mm

Zenith El Primero: The Chronograph Legend

The El Primero is, without a doubt, one of the most famous and best chronograph movements worldwide. Therefore, it's not a surprise that manufacturers other than Zenith utilize this movement in their timepieces. Even Rolex used a heavily modified El Primero known as the 4030 from 1988 to 2000 in their Daytona watches. TAG Heuer also uses this high-frequency movement in their Carrera Calibre 36, albeit a modified version.

The origins of the classic caliber reach all the way back to 1969 when Zenith, Seiko, and a cooperative alliance between Breitling, Heuer, and Büren raced to be the first to make an automatic chronograph caliber. This race brought the Swiss manufacturer Zenith into the spotlight. Models with an El Primero from 1969 are comparatively rare today and not as expensive as one might think. Depending on its condition, you can purchase such a timepiece for around 5,000 euros. Yellow gold models in very good condition can cost over 10,000 euros, which is still comparatively inexpensive. For comparison, a Rolex Daytona from 1969 can cost over 180,000 euros.

Pre-owned models from the 1980s and 90s are especially affordable. Prices for these El Primero watches start around 2,000 euros. Models from the 1970s only cost a few hundred euros more.

Current Models with the El Primero

The current collection features a 38-mm watch (03.2150.400/26.C714) which closely resembles the original model from 1969. New, the stainless steel model costs around 5,100 euros. If you prefer a 42-mm case, then the Chronomaster El Primero 42 is a good choice. Like the 38-mm model, it's available in stainless steel, rose gold, or bicolor rose gold/stainless steel. Stainless steel versions (03.2040.400/69.C494) cost around 5,000 euros. If you want a 42-mm gold watch to call your own, then you should be prepared to spend around 11,000 euros.

The model with reference number 24.2041.400/21.R576 stands out due to its ceramicized aluminum case. This material is made of aluminum, the surface of which is converted into oxide ceramic via a special oxidation process. After the procedure, the watch case is hard, scratch-resistant, corrosion-resistant, and lightweight. You will need to spend at least 6,600 euros on this timepiece.

Top El Primero Models

Highlights from Zenith include their gold watches with an El Primero tourbillon movement. These luxury watches cost around 55,000 euros new. With a stainless steel case, they cost around 10,000 euros less. In very good condition, a pre-owned rose gold variant with a tourbillion costs around 30,000 euros. Even more exclusive is the Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Tourbillon GFJ, which utilizes a fusée-and-chain transmission. This mechanism is rarely used. Unlike the more common systems, a fusée-and-chain transmission ensures the movement has a constant driving force. A new, gold Chronometer El Primero Tourbillon GFJ (18.2520.4805/98.C713) costs more than 70,000 euros.

Completely skeletonized watches with El Primero movements are also highlights from this company. The Le Locle-based manufacturer uses "Full Open" as an affix to the name in order to emphasize the skeletonizd design. Thanks to the skeletonized dial, you can view the movement from the front side of the watch, too. A sapphire glass case back gives you a clear look at the beating heart of the timepiece. New bicolor variants (51.2081.400/78.C810) cost about 7,000 euros.

The Chronograph of the 21st Century

Zenith presented the Defy El Primero 21 at Baselworld 2017, one of the most important watch trade shows in the world. This wristwatch is powered by a successor to the El Primero chronograph caliber and catapulted the brand into the 21st century. The movement has two separate, independent escapements. The first ticks at 36,000 A/h and ensures the time is displayed. The second oscillates at 360,000 A/h (50 Hz), enabling the watch to measure 1/100th of a second. Currently, the Defy El Primero 21 is available with a ceramic or titanium case. The titanium version is available with a skeletonized dial or in a retro design with a silver dial and black numerals. Prices for this titanium watch start at 7,200 euros. The skeletonzied titanium and ceramic watches cost around 8,500 euros.

Pilot's Watches

Although wristwatches with the El Primero caliber are Zenith's most famous timepieces, the Swiss manufacturer has other beloved series, such as the Pilot collection. It consists of classic pilot's watches, as Zenith has a longstanding relationship with aviation. During the early years of flying, they were supplying pilots and airplanes with their timepieces.

The Type 20 Extra Special is reminiscent of historical models from the 1940s with its retro design. Its large case, hands, numerals, and oversized onion crown (which can be used with gloves on) are all distinctive features. The Pilot Type 20 Skeleton and Pilot Type 20 Hommage à Louis Blériot are especially rare models. Both were limited to five pieces each and cost 205,000 euros.

Watches produced in larger numbers are significantly more affordable. A bronze watch with three hands (29.2430.679/21.C753) costs around 5,000 euros. As a new chronograph, the 45-mm pilot's watch costs around 6,000 euros. If you're not a fan of bronze, there are many stainless steel options. These watches feature artificially aged cases, giving them vintage charm. The variant with three hands costs 5,000 euros, while the chronograph costs 5,500 euros.

Timeless and Elegant Dress Watches

The Zenith Elite series was introduced to the market in 1994, when mechanical watches were gaining in popularity. These elegant wristwatches are powered by ultra-thin automatic movements with long-lasting power reserves. In 1994, the Elite caliber was only 3.3 mm thick and could run for 55 hours uninterrupted. Pre-owned models from the 1990s only cost around 1,000 euros, and newer versions in very good condition cost a bit more at 1,600 euros. The price for new watches starts at around 2,700 euros. Top models made of 18-karat rose gold and featuring a tourbillon cost over 50,000 euros. If you don't necessarily need a tourbillon, you should plan on spending around 16,000 euros for a new gold watch with a matching gold bracelet. With a leather strap, a gold Zenith Elite only costs 9,000 euros.

Watchmaking Tradition since 1865

Zenith has over 150 years of watchmaking experience and history. Watchmaker Georges Favre-Jacot founded his company in 1865 in Le Locle. According to legend, Favre-Jacot named the company "Zenith" after creating a watch of extraordinary quality. A five-pointed star serves as the company's logo; together, the name and logo symbolize the manufacturer's aspiration to create timepieces of the highest quality.

In the early years, Favre-Jacot focused on the production of pocket watches. He brought all of the important players in watchmaking together in his company to achieve independence from third-party suppliers. From the very beginning, the manufacturer was producing incredibly precise timepieces, which later competed in the Neuchâtel Observatory's chronometer competition and won multiple times starting in 1903. Favre-Jacot left the company in 1911 and left it in the hands of his nephew, James Favre. Zenith has belonged to the luxury goods concern LVMH since 2000.

In addition to pocket watches, Zenith also produced countless deck clocks. At the beginning of the 20th century, they introduced one of the first wristwatches with an alarm function. Around this time, easily readable pilot's watches were also being developed and used in the First World War. Chronographs have been a part of this manufacturer's repertoire for about a century. Still today, the El Primero caliber is Zenith's most famous product. It was the first automatic chronograph in the world and has been reliably and precisely keeping time since 1969.

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