The First Of

Watch Collectors, This One’s For You

After 50 years, the Zenith El Primero remains one of the most significant and iconic timepieces in the industry.

Watch Collectors, This One’s For You

It’s hard to imagine that just 50 years ago, most chronograph watches were manually wound. One of the few brands leading the race to develop the first self-winding chronograph was Zenith with the El Primero, a high-frequency (5Hz) integrated chronograph with a horizontal clutch. This year, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary movement, Zenith presents the El Primero 50th Anniversary set (limited to 50 pieces), presented in a special box housing three El Primero chronographs.

The first is a faithful reproduction of the ref. A386 from 1969 (the first time Zenith is reinterpreting the original model); the second is the Chronomaster 2 El Primero with a black ceramic bezel and a new calibre 3600; while the final one is the Defy El Primero 21 Chronograph, the latest iteration of the Defy El Primero 21, the lauded model that measures time up to 1/100 second.

Presented in a satin-brushed grey case fitted with features that would appeal to the most passionate of watch collectors, the timepieces are stored in a drawer alongside an empty cushion for a fourth future purchase—likely a 1/1000 second chronograph that would mark the next El Primero milestone.

But that’s not all. Enclosed within each box is a manufacturing die of a chronograph coupling wheel—an invitation to the Zenith Manufacture in Le Locle. The idea is for the purchaser to use his die to hand stamp two coupling wheel bridges; one to keep as a souvenir and the other to be engraved with his name and displayed at the manufacture.

To learn more about Zenith and the El Primero movement, visit A Star Through Time, the brand’s immersive pop-up exhibition that runs from 28 August to 1 September at Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza. Singapore is the first stop on the exhibition’s world tour, so it is an occasion not to be missed. The occasion also marks the first anniversary of Le Monde Étoilé de Zenith, a uniquely interactive journey through the past, present and future of the Zenith manufacture. “Le Monde Étoilé will give everyone an opportunity to enjoy a unique experience and to understand how our timepieces work, while plunging into the heart of our history,” said Zenith CEO Julien Tornare.

Zenith’s A Star Through Time exhibition will debut in Singapore before making its way to the rest of the world.

And if you’re really keen on watchmaking, you can take advantage of the specially-curated watchmaking clinics that will be running alongside the exhibition. They will be conducted by Zenith watchmakers on 31 August and 1 September. Guests can register their interest for these watchmaking sessions by emailing

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