While Zenith has paid tribute to many of its emblematic historical references, a steel re-edition as part of the permanent Zenith collection has long been something that Zenith collectors and chronograph aficionados have been eagerly waiting for. Zenith has gone a step further with the Chronomaster Original, but retained the singular and enduringly relevant design of the A386.
The A386 made its debut in 1969, as one of the first steel watches to be equipped with the revolutionary El Primero caliber. Over 50 years later, it remains the benchmark of precision amongst automatic chronograph movements, giving way to new versions and iterations in a constant evolution of technicity and performance.
At first glance, the Chronomaster Original, and the A386 appear nearly identical. However, the steel bracelet has been reimagined, abandoning the open “ladder” design of the 1960s for solid links that are sumptuously chamfered and decorated in the same fashion as the case. The Chronomaster Original inherited from the A386 its dial. Its unique aesthetic language includes the emblematic tricolor chronograph registers in grey and blue, the trapezoid date window at 4:30, and the red chronograph second hand. Nonetheless, some subtle updates have been added to boost the performance. As for the logo, it has also been updated to the more contemporary script Zenith uses today.
The Chronomaster Original is the result of 50 years of gradual improvement and true mastery of the automatic high-frequency chronograph movement. It is equipped with the latest version of the El Primero caliber, known as the El Primero 3600. Its autonomy has also been rendered more efficient, with an extended power reserve of 60 hours. Visible through the sapphire display back, the new architecture features a sleeker, more open design, revealing a blue column-wheel and an open rotor that is marked with the Zenith five-pointed star.
Apart from the signature configuration, the Chronomaster Original is also available in a steel case, with “reverse panda” black dial and silver chronograph registers, as well as in an 18K rose gold version with a tri-color dial.
Since its creation in 1865, Zenith has become the first watchmaking manufacture in the modern sense of the term, and its watches have accompanied extraordinary people that dreamt big and strived to achieve the impossible. In 2020, the Maison also paid tribute to visionary and trailblazing women, past and present, by dedicating an entire collection to them, the Defy Midnight.
With innovation as its lodestar, Zenith features exceptional, in-house developed, and manufactured movements for all its watches. From the first automatic chronograph, the El Primero, to the El Primero 21, and on to the Inventor, the manufacture has always pushed back the boundaries of what can be done.
They say true icons never fade away.
The Chronomaster Original upholds the legacy of the A386, one of the most emblematic wristwatches ever made, but also sets a new standard of exceptional performance, thanks to Zenith Manufacture’s everlasting pursuit of precision.