Zenith brings back the A3818, a rare El Primero from 1971

The reference is nicknamed "the cover girl", but if you can see past that, it's pretty great

Zenith A3818 "Cover Girl"
Zenith

This is the Zenith A3818 Revival, a 100-piece limited edition remake of a rare El Primero from 1971. It is the latest in a growing line of desirable El Primero heritage reissues, following George Bamford's work on the Chronomaster Radar and (with Mr Porter) the Edge of Space editions. For this watch, Zenith has collaborated with Revolution magazine, who will be selling half of the 100-piece run.

Zenith A3818 "Cover Girl"
Zenith

The model is often nicknamed "the Cover Girl" by vintage watch collectors, because it was the reference chosen to appear on the front cover of Manfred Rossler's 2009 history of the brand. The nickname doesn't give the most edifying impression of watch collectors in today's climate, an impression not helped by the words of Revolution founder Wei Koh who, at the unveiling of the watch, said "there is only one timepiece bestowed with a sobriquet that enflames the desire of men to such an extreme." I guess it could be worse: the Richard Mille RM69 still exists after all.

The A3818 is a derivation of the A385 - arguably the least known and certainly the rarest of the three original El Primero references. It is distinguished by its dial, which was unusual for the time in that it deviated from Zenith's normal contrast-coloured subdials, favouring instead a single tone of deep blue, relying instead on sunburst dial texture to differentiate the chronograph counters. This has been preserved for the modern iteration, but to add a certain zing to the whole thing, Zenith has rendered the "pyramid" style minute track, the tachymeter scale, the logo and the dial text all in SuperLuminova - as well as the blocky hour markers.

Zenith A3818 "Cover Girl"
Zenith

Housed in the same 37mm case - with period-correct 'pump' pushers for the chronograph - as the A384 revival Zenith brought out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the El Primero in 2019, the A3818 also comes on the same Gay Freres-style 'ladder' bracelet. As with the A384, the only concession to modernity is a sapphire caseback, revealing the El Primero 400 automatic calibre within.


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