Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 2: Malaysia Price And ReviewWritten by Leong Wong
Zenith’s whizz-kid gets a maxed-out makeover.
Zenith is pulling out all the stops for the 50th anniversary of the El Primero. To mark the occasion, “the world’s most accurate automatic chronograph movement” has been re-engineered and given a new name: El Primero 3600. We caught our first glimpse of what the Swiss watchmaker calls the “biggest change to the El Primero since the beginning” at the start of the year, when it debuted as the engine for one of the models in the 50 Years of El Primero Anniversary Set.
The next-gen mechanism’s reappearance now signifies the bigger plans that lie in store for it. Unusually, for a commemorative piece, it will not have a limited production run; but is slated to make its way into the heart of future releases. This is due to a modular design that allows the easy integration of various functions and displays when necessary.
For Zenith, the 3600 calibre is a bridge between past and future; hence, the redesign remains largely faithful to the DNA of the original El Primero in terms of architecture and performance. It still beats at 36,000vph; is capable of measuring 1/10th of a second; and retains an integrated construction driven by a column wheel with a lateral clutch and ball bearing-mounted central rotor.
The main difference lies in a series of radical updates that boost reliability and precision, as well as optimise modular flexibility, production, assembly and user friendliness. A stop-seconds device and an increased power reserve of 60 hours have also been thrown into the mix.
The Chronomaster 2 gets the privilege of revealing the El Primero 3600 calibre in all its glory via an openworked dial. A rather large column wheel can be seen just above the central chronograph second wheel, while the entire date disc is laid bare. The most significant visual highlight, however, is the optimised lateral clutch that now includes two intermediate wheels. Flip the timepiece over to view the automatic movement—including its star-shaped oscillating weight—through the sapphire crystal caseback.
The dial is graced with three distinctive colours—anthracite, blue and light grey—that denote the 60-minute counter at six o’clock, the 60-second counter at three o’clock and the running seconds at nine o’clock respectively. You’ll also find its star attraction here: a direct tenth-of-a-second read-off. The red central chronograph hand makes a full sweep of the dial in 10 seconds (instead of the conventional 60-second rotation), indicating with each jump successive 10ths of a second on the 100 graduations of the flange and bezel.
These marvels are housed in a handsome titanium case, available in two limited series of 250 pieces fitted with a blue or black ceramic bezel. The Chronomaster 2 with its souped-up engine brings Zenith’s sporty identity bang up to date in a modern and elegant way. If you are in the market for a top-notch chronograph watch, you won’t need to look any further—your search is over.
|Openworked with three sub-dials, central red chronograph hand, date window, rhodium-plated and faceted hour markers and hands coated with Super-LumiNova|
Self-winding El Primero 3600 column wheel chronograph
|Black or blue alligator leather with grey stitching and rubber lining|
|Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph seconds, chronograph minutes, chronograph 1/10th of a second, date|
Editor, CROWN Malaysia
A familiar face in Malaysia's horological publishing scene, Leong has been involved in lifestyle journalism since the mid-1990s. Besides watches, he takes a keen interest in cars and men's fashion.