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Zenith El Primero

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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Silver United Kingdom, London
TOP
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open Reserve, Box & Papers (2015)
£4,950
Seller
Tempvs Ltd
133
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronograph Steel 38mm Silver No numerals
TOP
Zenith Movado El Primero Chronograph Rare Bracelet Caliber...
£2,513
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
335
NL
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Lady Steel 37.5mm Mother of pearl Arabic numerals
TOP
Zenith El Primero Star Open Love Power Reserve - 03.1230.4021
£2,248
Free shipping
Seller
Pawndeluxe
335
NL
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rose gold
TOP
Zenith EL PRIMERO 38
£7,321
Seller
STENSTRUP Watches & Jewellery
17
DK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Blue No numerals United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
£4,188
Seller
Watch Center London
920
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel United Kingdom, Wilmslow Cheshire
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 42mm 24.2041.400/01.r576
£4,650
Free shipping
Seller
JPA Watch Company Ltd
69
UK
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Silver No numerals United Kingdom, or EU warehouse (see description)
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 36'000 VpH
£3,606
Seller
Premium Watches
48
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Bullitt
£5,152
Seller
Chad Warrick
20
US
Zenith El Primero Chronograph Steel 40mm Black No numerals United Kingdom, London
TOP
Zenith El Primero Chronograph
£2,800
Seller
Private Seller
 
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel United Kingdom, Gateshead
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
£3,200
Seller
David Summerfield Ltd
95
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronograph Steel 38mmmm United Kingdom, Kent
Zenith El Primero A788 Chronograph
£3,495
Seller
Vintage & Prestige
36
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Silver No numerals United Kingdom, Guildford,Surrey
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
£4,650
Seller
Maunder Watch Co
46
UK
Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Silver United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero
£4,320
Free shipping
Seller
Guardian Of Time
984
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Aluminum 42mm Grey No numerals United Kingdom, Wilmslow Cheshire
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Range Rover
£4,500
Free shipping
Seller
JPA Watch Company Ltd
69
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronograph Steel 38mm United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Chronograph
£4,250
Free shipping
Seller
WatchCollectors.co.uk
55
UK
Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Silver United Kingdom, London
TOP
Zenith El Primero Original 1969 38 mm
£4,629
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
607
UK
Zenith El Primero 410 Steel 42mm Blue United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero 410 Limited Edition
£7,590
Seller
Watch Philosophy
46
UK
Zenith El Primero Steel 42mm Silver No numerals
Zenith Strinking 10th El Primero
£6,278
Seller
HEI
14
US
Zenith El Primero Yellow gold 40mm White
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Calendar Moonphase Chronograph...
£6,099
Seller
Boneta, Inc.
105
US
Zenith El Primero Chronograph Steel 40mm White No numerals United Kingdom, Edinburgh
Zenith El Primero Chronograph
£2,140
Seller
NoblesseWatch
273
UK
Zenith El Primero 410 Steel 42mm Silver No numerals United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero 410
£5,951
Free shipping
Seller
Guardian Of Time
984
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
Zenith CHRONOMASTER XXT
£3,884
Seller
Royal Jewelers
15
US
Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Silver United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Original 1969
£3,500
Seller
WatchesLDN
23
UK
Zenith El Primero Synopsis Steel 40mm Silver United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Synopsis
£4,399
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
607
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel United Kingdom, London
Zenith Chronomaster Full Open 42mm Limited Edition
£6,880
Seller
Watch Philosophy
46
UK
Zenith El Primero 410 Steel 42mm Silver United Kingdom, Bowness on Windermere
Zenith El Primero 410 Steel Automatic Mens Watch 03.2091.410/0...
£6,300
Seller
SwissTimepieces.co.uk
30
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Yellow gold 40mm White United Kingdom, LEEDS
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
£5,450
Seller
Private Seller
 
UK
Zenith El Primero Steel 44mm Black Arabic numerals United Kingdom, Edinburgh
Zenith Grande Class XXT Open
£2,972
Seller
NoblesseWatch
273
UK
Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar Steel 42mm Grey United Kingdom, London
Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar
£5,995
Free shipping
Seller
Guardian Of Time
984
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rose gold 42mm
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
£9,036
Seller
HEI
14
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Steel 45mm Black United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Rainbow Fly Back
£4,595
Seller
Swiss Watch Company Ltd.
303
UK
Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero
£4,664
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
607
UK
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm
Zenith 03.2040.400/53.C700 Chronomaster El Primero Blue Dial...
£3,567
Seller
European Watch Company
261
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 42mm Grey United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero
£6,050
Seller
Watch Philosophy
46
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Grey United Kingdom, Bowness on Windermere
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Men’s Watch 03.2046.4061/9...
£7,750
Seller
SwissTimepieces.co.uk
30
UK
Zenith El Primero Steel United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero
£10,240
Seller
Private Seller
 
UK
Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar Rose gold 42mm Silver No numerals United Kingdom, Edinburgh
Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar UNWORN
£7,451
Seller
NoblesseWatch
273
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rose gold 42mm Brown United Kingdom, London
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Legend of Cohiba
£10,491
Free shipping
Seller
Guardian Of Time
984
UK
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Steel 45mm Black Arabic numerals
Zenith Rainbow El Primero Stratos Flyback
£4,082
Seller
HEI
14
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 45mm Black United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open Grande Date
£6,595
Seller
Swiss Watch Company Ltd.
303
UK
Zenith El Primero Steel 45mm Silver United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Chronograph
£7,644
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
607
UK
Zenith El Primero Rose gold 42mm Brown
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH
£9,987
Seller
Shreve, Crump & Low
 
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 45mm Transparent No numerals United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
£7,250
Seller
Watch Philosophy
46
UK
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Brown United Kingdom, Bowness on Windermere
Zenith El Primero 36’000 VpH Men’s Watch 03.2046.400/25.C771
£4,950
Seller
SwissTimepieces.co.uk
30
UK
Zenith El Primero Espada Rose gold 40mm No numerals United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Espada rose gold diamonds set case and dial...
£12,500
Seller
W1 Watches
79
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 45mm Silver No numerals United Kingdom, Edinburgh
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open Grande Date Moon Sunphase
£4,914
Seller
NoblesseWatch
273
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rose gold 42mm Silver No numerals United Kingdom, London
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero
£9,169
Free shipping
Seller
Guardian Of Time
984
UK
Zenith El Primero Sport Steel 45mm Silver No numerals
Zenith El Primero Sport
£3,662
Seller
HEI
14
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Silver United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969
£4,995
Seller
Swiss Watch Company Ltd.
303
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Gold/Steel 42mm United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Full Open
£7,512
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
607
UK
Zenith El Primero Rose gold 43mm White
Zenith Class XXT Moonphase El Primero, 18kt Rose Gold, w/ Box
£7,926
Free shipping
Seller
Tysons Watch and Jewelry Exchange
7
US
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Black United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH
£5,300
Seller
Watch Philosophy
46
UK
Zenith El Primero Steel 45mm Silver United Kingdom, Bowness on Windermere
Zenith El Primero Men’s Watch 03.2160.4047/02.C713
£7,800
Seller
SwissTimepieces.co.uk
30
UK
Zenith El Primero New Vintage 1969 Rose gold 40mm Champagne United Kingdom, Bishop's Stortford
Zenith El Primero Vintage Chronograph 18K Rose Gold 18.1969.46...
£7,995
Seller
Xupes.com
213
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 40mm White No numerals United Kingdom, Edinburgh
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster T Open
£3,012
Seller
NoblesseWatch
273
UK
Zenith El Primero Sport Steel 45mm Grey United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Sport
£5,069
Free shipping
Seller
Guardian Of Time
984
UK
Zenith El Primero Sport Steel 45mm Grey No numerals
Zenith Land Rover El Primero
£3,852
Seller
HEI
14
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 45mm Silver United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open
£4,995
Seller
Swiss Watch Company Ltd.
303
UK
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Ceramic 42.00mm United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VPH
£6,022
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
607
UK
Zenith El Primero Yellow gold United Kingdom, Kingston Upon Hull
Zenith El Primero
£6,250
Seller
Ian Blowers Jewellers
55
UK
Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Steel 45mm United Kingdom, London
Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift
£5,615
Seller
Watch Philosophy
46
UK
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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.

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