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Zenith El Primero

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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Aluminum 42.00mm Black
TOP
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 42 Aluminium / Black / Rubber...
C$ 8,311
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1545
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 42mm Grey
TOP
Zenith EL PRIMERO RANGE ROVER EDITION ALUMINIUM-BLACK 24.204
C$ 8,081
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1545
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Black
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open Black Steel/Leather 42mm -...
C$ 7,811
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1545
US
Zenith El Primero Synopsis Steel 40mm Silver
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Zenith El Primero Synopsis 03.2170.4613 40mm
C$ 4,485
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12
JP
Zenith El Primero White gold 44mm
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Zenith Grande Class Grande Date Rattrapante, Split Second,...
C$ 18,781
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19
CH
Zenith El Primero Steel 44mm Black Arabic numerals
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Zenith Grande Class El Primero Men's 44mm Automatic Watch...
C$ 5,135
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434
US
Zenith El Primero Espada Steel 38mm Canada, Montreal
Zenith Espada Chronograph El Primero Moonphase 01.0040.418
C$ 7,771
Verified Dealer
110
CA
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rose gold 40mm Silver Roman numerals
Zenith 18k Gold El Primero Chronomaster Annual Calendar Moonphase
C$ 12,164
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US
Zenith El Primero Steel 37mm White
Zenith El Primero 50th Anniversary A384 Revival
C$ 8,243
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21
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Gold/Steel 45.5mm Brown
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Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback 51.2061.405/75.R516 Watch...
C$ 9,118
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488
US
Zenith El Primero White gold 38mm
Zenith 65.A386.400/69.C815 El Primero 50th Anniversary A386...
C$ 25,004
Verified Dealer
389
US
Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Grey
Zenith El Primero - Chronomaster - 38mm - Original 1969
C$ 6,994
Verified Dealer
270
US
Zenith El Primero Lightweight Carbon 45mm Transparent No numerals
Zenith El Primero Carbon Lightweight Lim Edition from 2015...
C$ 11,900
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NL
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 45mm Grey Roman numerals
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open
C$ 4,973
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10
HK
Zenith El Primero Steel 44mm Black Arabic numerals
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Zenith Grande Class Grande Date 44mm Chronograph Automatic...
C$ 4,972
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434
US
Zenith El Primero Tourbillon White gold 45mm Black
Zenith Grande Class Tourbillon 65.0520.4035/21.c492 18k White...
C$ 121,633
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112
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback 46mm Black
Zenith : El Primero Stratos Flyback Chronograph: 24.2060.405/...
C$ 6,650
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455
US
Zenith El Primero Doublematic Rose gold 45mm Black Arabic numerals
TOP
Zenith 18.2400.4046 Doublematic Chrono Alarm GMT Mens Rose Gold
C$ 23,247
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107
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 42mm Black No numerals Canada, Langley
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
C$ 8,500
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31
CA
Zenith El Primero Steel 42mm Silver No numerals
Zenith El Primero Striking 10th Chronograph Limited Edition...
C$ 10,339
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668
US
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Silver No numerals
Zenith El Primero - Chronomaster - 42mm - Brand Strap - 36'000...
C$ 6,994
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270
US
Zenith El Primero Yellow gold 40mm
Zenith El Primero
C$ 8,820
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45
JP
Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Steel 44mm Black
Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Chronograph Black 03.2050.4035/21...
C$ 22,299
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598
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Lady Steel 37.5mm Silver Arabic numerals
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Zenith Chronomaster Star El Primero Chronograph 37.5mm Watch...
C$ 3,356
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434
US
Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Blue No numerals
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero
C$ 7,814
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30
IT
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Black No numerals
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
C$ 7,907
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35
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Gold/Steel 42mm
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
C$ 10,542
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240
US
Zenith El Primero Steel 44mm Black Arabic numerals
Zenith Grande Class Black Arabic Dial Steel Rubber Watch - New...
C$ 7,432
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95
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Ceramic 42mm Black No numerals
Zenith El Primero Range Rover Chronograph 24.2040.400/27.R797
C$ 7,366
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668
US
Zenith El Primero Rose gold 39mm Black Arabic numerals
Zenith El Primero 17.0500.400/21
C$ 9,177
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130
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Silver No numerals
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
C$ 6,751
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31
US
Zenith El Primero Sport Steel 45mm Grey No numerals
Zenith El Primero Sport - NOS 2018 - Full set
C$ 7,469
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19
FR
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 45mm
Zenith CHRONOMASTER EL PRIMERO GRANDE DATE FULL OPEN 45mm -
C$ 12,690
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1545
US
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm White
Zenith El Primero 36,000 VpH Chronograph Steel 42mm White Dial
C$ 7,967
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341
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Gold/Steel 42mm No numerals
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 51.2081.400/78.C810
C$ 10,030
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349
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rose gold 45mm Black
Zenith Stratos Flyback Chronograph
C$ 18,922
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240
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Ceramic 42mm Black No numerals
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 36,000 VPH
C$ 8,778
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US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Ceramic 45mm Black No numerals
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyblack Chronograph 24.2064.405/24....
C$ 8,718
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668
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 45mm Silver No numerals
Zenith Grande ChronoMaster XXT Open 03.1260.4021
C$ 5,663
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130
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 40mm
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Triple Calendar Moonphase 18k...
C$ 10,811
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434
US
Zenith El Primero Sport Steel 45mm Grey No numerals
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport Land Rover Limited Edition
C$ 6,055
Free shipping
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392
US
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42.00mm Silver
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 42 Stainless Steel / Silver /...
C$ 6,270
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1545
US
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Silver
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero
C$ 9,116
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161
DE
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Transparent No numerals
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 03.2081.400/78.M2040
C$ 9,784
Free shipping
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349
US
Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Steel 44mm Black No numerals
Zenith El Primero Automatic Tourbillon Chronograph
C$ 25,004
Verified Dealer
240
US
Zenith El Primero Steel 42mm Silver
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 42mm 03.2040.400/69.c494
C$ 6,429
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446
US
Zenith El Primero Sport Steel 45mm Grey No numerals
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Sport Land Rover Bar Team...
C$ 6,420
Free shipping
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668
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Ceramic
Zenith Stratos Flyback Chronograph 24.2064.405/24.R517
C$ 8,643
Free shipping
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90
US
Zenith El Primero Chronograph White gold 44mm Silver Arabic numerals
Zenith Grande Class El Primero Chronograph 18k White Gold 44mm...
C$ 12,130
Verified Dealer
341
US
Zenith El Primero Steel 40mm Black No numerals
Zenith El Primero Pacific
C$ 3,428
Verified Dealer
21
DE
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Silver
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Chronograph Automatic Silver...
C$ 7,757
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1545
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Gold/Steel 42mm
Zenith CHRONOMASTER El Primero Full Open
C$ 13,801
Verified Dealer
161
DE
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH 42mm Grey No numerals
Zenith El Primero 03.2046.400/25.C802
C$ 6,271
Free shipping
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349
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Silver No numerals
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Chronomaster1969 03.2040.4061
C$ 5,980
Verified Dealer
94
JP
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 38mm Transparent
Zenith 03.2153.400/78.m2150
C$ 8,245
Free shipping
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446
US
Zenith El Primero Rose gold 42mm Brown No numerals
Zenith El Primero 18.2041.400/76.c795
C$ 14,800
Free shipping
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668
US
Zenith El Primero Steel 44mm Black Arabic numerals
Zenith El Primero
C$ 7,569
Verified Dealer
240
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Steel 45.5mm Black
Zenith 2017 Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Chronograph...
C$ 5,736
Free shipping
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352
US
Zenith El Primero Chronograph Steel 38mm White
Zenith El Primero Prime Chronograph 20.0010.420 Gelbgold
C$ 2,230
Verified Dealer
DE
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel Silver
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 42mm Mens Watch 42mm - 03.204
C$ 6,689
Free shipping
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1545
US
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Grey
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero
C$ 9,116
Verified Dealer
161
DE
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Aluminum 42mm Grey No numerals
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 24.2040.400/27.R796
C$ 9,664
Free shipping
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349
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rose gold 42mm Silver No numerals
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 42 Chronograph
C$ 18,782
Verified Dealer
194
IT
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Steel 45.5mm Blue
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback 03.2067.405/51.M2060
C$ 6,893
Free shipping
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446
US
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Precision Since 1969

The Zenith El Primero was the first automatic chronograph caliber in the world. Oscillating at a high frequency, this movement can measure 1/10th of a second. Current top models are made of gold and have a tourbillon and skeletonized movement.


Highlights

  • Top Zenith El Primero models feature a tourbillon
  • High balance frequency enabling chronographs to measure 1/10th of a second
  • Defy El Primero 21 with two escapements, measures 1/100th of a second
  • 50-hour power reserve

Zenith El Primero: The First of Its Kind

The El Primero (Spanish for "the first") is inextricably tied to the Swiss watch manufacturer Zenith. The caliber rocketed the company to fame and earned them a place in the history books. The El Primero was introduced in 1969, making it the first automatic chronograph caliber worldwide. Thanks to its unusually high balance frequency of 36,000 A/h (5 Hz), it can measure 1/10th of a second – an ability that, to this day, remains a rarity in mechanical chronographs.

In spite of this high balance frequency, the movement runs for 50 hours once fully wound. In comparison, ETA's Valjoux 7750 only has a power reserve of around 44 hours. This movement is the most frequently used automatic chronograph caliber in the world. Today, Zenith is a master of timekeeping, offering ultra-precise watches such as flyback and double chronographs.

Current top models from Zenith using the El Primero caliber have skeletonized movements with a tourbillon and are made of ceramic or rose gold. If the skeletonized movement isn't a requirement for you, you can go for an El Primero Tourbillon instead. This model is available in stainless steel, titanium, or 18-karat rose gold. Tech lovers will be taken with the Defy El Primero 21 , which was introduced in 2017. The watch features two escapements: one for displaying time and the other for the chronograph function. The chronograph escapement vibrates at 50 Hz, ten times the speed of the standard El Primero. Its speed allows it to measure 1/100th of a second. This is an exceptional achievement in the world of mechanical watches.


How much does a Zenith El Primero cost?

Pre-owned Zenith chronographs with an El Primero caliber are available at comparably affordable prices. Models from the 1990s in good or very good condition start at around 1,500 euros. Gold watches from this time are only a bit more expensive, ranging between 1,700 and 2,000 euros. If you're looking for a wristwatch with an automatic in-house caliber and stopwatch function, then the Zenith El Primero could be the right fit for you. Models from the 90s are very affordable.

Prices for models from the 1980s start at around 2,300 euros, but can go up to and over 6,000 euros. The more expensive models have an 18-karat gold case and are powered by the caliber 3019PHF. The movement features a moon phase display as well as a complete calendar. A complete calendar displays the date, the day, and the month, but needs to be manually corrected during months with less than 31 days. The timepiece is also known as the El Primero 410. Without the calendar function, a pre-owned vintage watch from the 80s costs between 3,200 and 3,800 euros.


Detailed Price Information

Model Price (approx.) Features Case material
El Primero Tourbillon GFJ, Ref. 18.2520.4805/98.C713 72,000 euros Fusée-and-chain transmission, tourbillon Rose gold
El Primero Tourbillon, Ref. 18.2280.4035/01.C713 55,000 euros Tourbillon Rose gold
El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton, Ref. 49.2520.4035/98.R576 33,000 euros Tourbillon, skeletonized dial and movement Ceramic
El Primero Grande Date Full Open, Ref. 03.2530.4047/78.C813 7,900 euros Oversized date, moon phase display, escape wheel, silicon pallet fork Stainless steel
El Primero Full Open, Ref. 03.2081.400/78.C813 7,200 euros Skeletonized dial and movement Stainless steel
El Primero Open, Ref. 03.2040.4061/69.C496 6,500 euros Partly skeletonzied dial, silicon escape wheel and pallet fork Stainless steel
El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow, Ref. 03.2061.405/21.M2060 6,000 euros Flyback chronograph, rotatable bezel, multicolor 30-minute counter Stainless steel
El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th, Ref. 03.2060.4057/69.C714 5,700 euros Flyback chronograph, rotatable bezel, chronograph second hand makes one full 360-degree rotation in 10 seconds Stainless steel
El Primero Stratos Flyback, Ref. 03.2066.405/69.R515 5,400 euros Flyback chronograph, rotatable bezel Stainless steel
El Primero 38.00, Ref. 03.2150.400/69.C713 4,800 euros 38-mm diameter, retro design resembling the original from 1969 Stainless steel
El Primero Synopsis, Ref. 03.2170.4613/21.C714 4,500 euros Three-hand version, partly skeletonized dial, silicon escape wheel and pallet fork Stainless steel

Zenith El Primero

Early models from the first year of their release are often appealing to collectors. A Zenith El Primero in good condition from 1969 can be purchased for as little as 5,000 euros. Models in very good condition cost 6,000 euros, while gold versions start at 8,500 euros. Compared to other vintage chronographs, the Zenith watch is very affordable. A Heuer Monaco from 1969 costs at least 13,500 euros. The Calibre 11, another one of the first automatic chronograph calibers, powers these chronographs. Stainless steel Rolex Daytonas from the 1960s, which are manual, often cost over 50,000 euros. Both of these examples show the relative affordability of a pre-owned Zenith El Primero.


New Watch Prices

New watches with the El Primero cost less than 4,000 euros. The 38-mm Chronomaster El Primero 38.00 timepieces come closest to the first watches from 1969. Prices for new stainless steel variants (03.2150.400/69.C713) start at around 4,800 euros. Retro models with an 18-karat rose gold case cost around 10,000 euros. Stainless steel versions with a partly skeletonized dial, called the El Primero Open, cost around 6,500 euros. This model gives you a view of the escapement and swing systems. If you want to be able to marvel at the movement from the front and back, then you should take a look at the Full Open variant. Stainless steel Full Opens cost about 7,200 euros. The El Primero Grande Date with an oversized date display is in the same price range.


Zenith El Primero Plus Tourbillon

Top Zenith El Primero models are made of rose gold and feature a tourbillon, which increases a watch's precision by compensating for gravity-related deviations from the correct time. The model with reference number 18.2280.4035/01.C713 costs almost 55,000 euros new. The version with a titanium case costs 10,000 euros less. The Chronomaster El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton is available with a lightweight, hard, and scratch-resistant ceramic case. Additionally, the dial and movement are skeletonized. You should be prepared to spend at least 33,000 euros on this black watch. Rose gold models cost around 48,000 euros.

One highlight from the Le Locle-based manufacturer is the Chronomaster El Primero Tourbillon GFJ . The last three letters, GFJ, are the initials of the company's founder, Georges Favre-Jacot. Zenith introduced the model in 2015 in celebration of the company's 150th anniversary. This wristwatch has Zenith's first tourbillon movement that uses a fusée-and-chain transmission. This system ensures a constant driving force and thus incredible precision. The El Primero Tourbillon GFJ is available with a ceramic or 18-karat rose gold case. The rose gold version costs over 70,000 euros new.


Zenth's Speedy Sport Watches

The majority of the chronographs using the Zenith El Primero have a sporty-elegant design. Therefore, most of them are perfect everyday watches that you can wear to the office or in your free time. Some timepieces, on the other hand, are true sports watches , such as the Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback. It has a rotatable bezel and flyback function. You can purchase this model pre-owned for around 4,000 euros. Prices for new models start at around 5,400 euros.

The El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th (03.2060.4057/69.C714) is an particularly special watch; its central stopwatch seconds hand only needs 10 seconds to make a complete rotation. This mechanism makes it easier to read tenths of seconds. Usually, this hand needs 60 seconds to rotates 360 degrees. You should be prepared to spend at least 5,700 euros on this watch.

The El Primero Rainbow is also a popular model among fans. The manufacturer developed the Rainbow in the 1990s based on the needs of the French military. The company introduced the pilot's watch to the market in 1997. These Rainbow timepieces feature a multi-color 30-minute counter at three o'clock, a red chronograph seconds hand, and a rotatable bezel. The first 20 minutes of the scale on the bezel are in red. Using the telemeter scale on the rehaut, the edge of the dial, you can calculate distances. Models from the 90s often cost less than 3,000 euros. Current versions of the Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow are 45.5 mm large and cost 6,000 euros new.


1969: An Exciting Year

Nineteen sixty-nine was a significant year in many aspects. That summer, the first men landed on the Moon with the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch on their wrists. Richard Nixon became the 37th President of the United States, and the Woodstock Festival went down in music history. There were also historical moments happening in the watch world, such as the competition to create the first automatic chronograph caliber between Zenith, Seiko, and a team made up of Heuer, Breitling, Büren, and the chronograph specialists Dubois Dépraz.

Breitling and Heuer began developing an automatic chronograph caliber in the early 1960s, as standard manual movements were becoming less and less popular. Automatic movements, which made regularly winding your watch a thing of the past, were gaining in popularity. Heuer, Breitling, Dubois Dépraz, and Büren joined together to tackle the challenge of creating an automatic chronograph caliber. The result was the Calibre 11 with a chronograph module and micro-rotor. Due to technical reasons, the crown was on the left side, while the push-pieces for starting and stopping the chronograph were on the right. The movement was presented in March 1969.

Zenith had introduced their El Primero in January 1969. Unlike the Calibre 11, the El Primero was an integrated chronograph movement. That meant that the movement was designed for the purpose of timing and its components fit perfectly together. The Calibre 11 had a chronograph module that was mounted onto the base movement. The Zenith El Primero, however, first came to market in the autumn of 1969. The Japanese manufacturer Seiko sold the first wristwatches with automatic chronograph movements in the early summer of 1969.