Zenith reveals El Primero A384 Revival

Switzerland’s frenzy of meticulous period-correct reissues continues

Zenith El Primero A384 Revival
Zenith

Zenith has announced details of the A384 Revival, an updated yet extremely faithful execution of the first watch to ever house the famous El Primero automatic chronograph calibre.

Produced in 1969 as the watch to showcase Zenith’s efforts to be the first watchmaker to create an automatic chronograph, the A384 has taken on great significance to fans of the brand – and of vintage chronographs in general – but has not played a huge role in the modern era of the El Primero. Instead, the rounded case of the later A386 has been the imprimatur for most ‘purebred’ El Primero references.

However, the design of the A384 can claim to be the forefather of the Defy collection (both the original Defy and the current version share the tonneau shape, but the Defy Classic and Defy Xtreme models of the Thierry Nataf era did not), so there is something satisfying about Zenith now recreating the watch that started it all.

Zenith El Primero A384 Revival
Zenith

The new model (reference 03.A384.400/21.C815) is nigh-on indistinguishable from the 1969 watch. Crucially it measures 37mm across and 12.6mm tall, and the panda dial is a like-for-like recreation in black and white lacquer, complete with tachymetric scale and date at 4:30 (yes, that was an original feature, date-haters). In fact, to ensure it would be as close as possible to the original Zenith digitally scanned every component of the 1969 watch ahead of reproduction. You can even get it on a ladder-style metal bracelet.

Zenith El Primero A384 Revival
Design sketches for the A384 case
Zenith

There are only three differences – but they are significant. Firstly, the plexiglass has been replaced with sapphire crystal. Secondly, a sapphire crystal caseback has been fitted, in place of a solid steel caseback, and thirdly the Revival watch uses the most up-to-date version of Zenith’s El Primero 400 calibre.


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