The 41mm steel model uses the 5Hz El Primero 3600, which has a power reserve of 60 hours and is visible through the sapphire crystal caseback revealing an open-worked rotor and a blue coated column wheel. Black and white dial options are available, with both featuring Zenith’s tri-color subdials which have served as an instantly recognizable feature of El Primero-based Zeniths since its inception in 1969.
Outside the watch features a black ceramic bezel etched with 1/10th second markings to make the most of the chronograph’s added precision, afforded by its higher frequency.
The bezel is also a clear play for customers of the Rolex Daytona who are either languishing on waiting lists or considering paying the massive grey market mark-ups being asked for the model. Rolex has no exclusive right to use the ceramic bezel and Zenith has more than enough history in the field of chronographs to do whatever it wants. Actually given Zenith’s direct involvement in the evolution of the Rolex Daytona it’s quite right that Zenith should be a direct challenger in the market space. The pricing too (which based on UK GBP pricing represents a 20% saving on what Rolex is asking for a Daytona should, by some miracle, you be able to grab one at list price) suggests Zenith wants to give you every reason to reconsider your desire for a Daytona.
The Daytona went automatic in 1988 after decades as a manual wind watch, by using (and modifying) Zenith’s El Primero high beat chronograph movement. This arrangement remained in place for the next 12 years, when Rolex revealed the Daytona ref. 16520 in 2000 which used the Calibre 4130, the first automatic chronograph movement actually designed and manufactured in-house by Rolex.
Of course Zenith has every right to make a more confident play for the sports chronograph market, it is afterall a chronograph brand, but historically it has often languished in the vast shadow created by its arguably more famous movement, the El Primero. But producing relevant, crisp watches like this is a sure fire way to reverse that situation and put Zenith the watchmaker out in front of its offspring once again, something which must, at least in part, be attributed to the confidence the brand is exhibiting under the leadership of CEO Julian Tornare.
The Chronomaster Sport is available now for $10,000 USD. For information visit Zenith here.
Elsewhere in watches, MB&F reveals the twin-balance, sapphire-cased HM9 Sapphire Vision.