Following the presentation of a “One-Off” Zenith El Primero chronograph that was auctioned off (for CHF250,000) in aid of a the ZOE4LIFE Foundation, the Swiss brand and Phillips will create two more El Primero Ref. A386 chronographs, limited to 69 pieces in total, in honor of the birth year of the El Primero caliber. The watch was designed by representatives of the auction house, Aurel Bacs and Alex Ghotbi.


The trilogy of Zenith x Phillips El Primero Chronographs

El Primero was the world’s first high-frequency automatic chronograph movement when it was first unveiled in 1969. Both watches have the same case dimensions – 38 mm on the width and 12.6 mm on the thickness measure. The case is fitted with a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides. The exhibition caseback reveals the self-winding El Primero 400, a column wheel chronograph movement with a power reserve of 50 hours. It must be mentioned here that during Baselworld this year, Zenith unveiled a trilogy of Ref. A386 models in solid gold to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the model.

The black and gold scheme is back in vogue this year

The first of the two homage editions is based to the Ref. A386, but uses the yellow gold and black color scheme that’s back in vogue again. The yellow gold El Primero Ref. A386 has a black dial with gold sub-registers and gold printing - a contrast that is beloved in the watch collecting community, and unlike anything previously made by Zenith. The yellow gold is limited to 20 pieces and is priced at CHF20,000.

The steel version has terracotta brown subdials

For the stainless steel version, Phillips’ team was inspired by color schemes characteristic of fashionable textiles and popular interior design during the 60s. The iconic overlapping registers of the first ever Zenith El Primero Ref. A386 remain, but brown terracotta tones replace the grey, dark grey and blue of the original dial. The steel version is limited to 49 pieces and is priced at CHF8,000.

Both versions run the same El Primero 400 movement

The launch, in Geneva, of the two limited edition Zenith El Primero Ref. A386 for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, marks the final stop of the El Primero 50th Anniversary World Tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of the watchmaker’s most important contribution to the watchmaking world.

The steel model will be offered on a leather strap and a ladder bracelet reminiscent of the bracelets made by Gay-Frères for Zenith back in the day. However, the winning bidder of the “One-Off” Zenith El Primero A386 in platinum (with the blue lapis lazuli dial) will be given right of first refusal to the yellow gold and stainless steel limited editions, in order to have the opportunity to acquire all three models made for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo, and completing a unique trilogy in three different case metals.