Feb 10, 2014

Hands-On With The Three Best Watches I Saw From Zenith In Geneva

Zenith doesn't exhibit at the SIHH, but we still found...


Zenith doesn't exhibit at the SIHH, but we still found time while in Geneva to check out some new introductions and updates from the brand. While the major product releases will come in Basel, there was a small handful of watches that caught my eye and here I'll show you the three most worth your attention right now. These are three very different watches, but all offer seriously incredible value for in-house watchmaking.

The El Primero Triple Calendar Chronograph Caliber 410


We showed you this watch a few months back, but I thought you'd like to take a look at some in-the-metal shots. This 42mm triple calendar chronograph with moonphase has a really vintage feel to it, and is actually based off a 1970s model. It of course uses the El Primero chronograph, coupled with full calendar – I'm not really sure why more companies don't produce this combination of complication. The watch is great, though not without fault. The proportions of the dial are clearly off, with tiny little day and month apertures squeezed almost on top of the chronograph registers, which are themselves very tightly packaged in this case.  The watch is not as nicely proportioned as the original, but is still handsome.  Further, the price of this watch, $10,600, is very solid.  Actually, it's more than solid.  So, not perfect, but a step in a great direction and reasonably priced for an in-house chronograph and full calendar.  More on that here.


Captain Elite Center Seconds


Next we have a really simple, but really solid watch. This is the new Captain Elite Center Seconds, and there isn't much not to like here. You've got a nice clean case and dial with date at 6 o'clock and in-house Zenith Elite movement. This watch is 40mm in diameter and has a nice domed dial that is hard to appreciate in these photos, but creates a really nice look. A good looking watch with a true in-house movement for a great price: $5,600.  More on it here.


Captain Winsor Annual Calendar Boutique Edition


Finally, while the Captain Winsor annual calendar chronograph isn't a new watch, has received a welcome refresh. This is the boutique-only edition of a watch  I called something of a revelation when it was announced a few years back.  You're getting an in-house chronograph coupled with a real annual calendar for not very much money. This watch now retails for $10,400 – that's less than the triple calendar moonphase up top, because the calendar mechanism is built based on Ludwig Oechslin's genius, and inexpensive by design. For those who don't know, Oechslin is the man behind Ochs und Junior, who we profiled in this extensive feature article and video.  His concepts are totally open source, and Zenith opted to use his annual calendar mechanism in this watch. This new boutique edition has a cleaned up dial that makes the Captain Winsor even more attractive than it already was. Unbelievable watchmaking for the money here. You can read more about this watch right here.

Honorable Mention: Type XX GMT


Ok, this watch isn't me at all, but I recognize that some of you would probably want to see it in the metal. This is the new Type XX GMT in black DLC with bund-style strap and faux patina. It's a GMT with a loose tie to the Wright Brother's first flight, and is really a love / hate design. 


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tagged zenith, sihh 2014