When you think of Zenith, odds are, you think “El Primero.” One of the first automatic chronographs to come to market (and certainly the first high-beat, integrated chronograph to come to market) the El Primero is something of a cult movement and certainly the backbone of Zenith, who has enjoyed strong success in the past few years based on the launch of some very complicated pieces like the Striking Tenth Chronograph and Captain Winsor at very reasonable prices.
While every movement Zenith makes is indeed their own – they are a true manufacture from top to bottom – not every movement they make is an El Primero. Their Captain line, for example, uses a Zenith “Elite” movement with a VPH (vibrations per hour) of 28,800. One of the defining traits of the El Primero is that it has a VPH of 36,000.
So, while Zenith did put much of its attention pilots watches and continued with chronographs this year at Basel World 2012, one of the most interesting relases came in the form of a brand new time-only watch called the Espada featuring a time-date movement that they are calling an El Primero, despite the fact it is not a chronograph movement.
The El Primero 4650 B was in fact built to spec of the traditional El Primero chronograph, and beats at 36,000 BPH as one might expect – it just happens to be missing the chronograph function. What the new Espada offers is the chance to own part of the El Primero history in a three-handed watch.
Sized at 40mm and available in steel, rose gold, and two-tone steel/rose gold in a few different dials, the new Espada will sit above the Elite collection and below the El Primero Chronograph collection in terms of pricing and prestige. Pricing is expected to start at just above $6000 in steel and $15,000 in gold. Does Zenith need two three-handed movements? We will find out soon enough, though we do expect Zenith fans to be clamoring for this one.
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