Zenith focuses firmly on lightness, daring and innovation in an exclusive version of its El Primero Striking 10th chronograph featuring high-tech materials. Issued in a 100-piece limited edition, the El Primero Lightweight model teams a titanium and silicon movement with an ultra-sporty carbon case. It signals the dawn of a new era in the fabulous history of the legendary El Primero caliber.
When it was launched in 1969, the El Primero caliber overturned existing conventions by asserting itself as the first-ever automatic chronograph to boast an integrated construction. The added fact that it beats at the exceptional frequency of 10 vibrations per second (36,000 vibrations per hour) means that today it remains the most precise series-made chronograph caliber in the world. Over the years, Zenith has steadily fine-tuned its legendary movement in order to optimize its precision, its reliability and its performance.
A featherweight motor
Zenith is now taking a new turn by unveiling a sportier and even more avant-garde version of the El Primero Striking 10th. The concept combines a light weight with performance and originality. By combining high-tech innovation with creative daring, the engineers and watchmakers of the Manufacture were tasked with the mission of reducing the weight of the watch to an absolute minimum, without compromising in terms of its precision, sturdiness or reliability – just as an engine designed for competition is optimized for the same purpose. In order to succeed in this major challenge they started with the movement. Based on its latest research relating to new materials, Zenith chose titanium – a light and resistant metal widely used in aeronautics – to machine the main elements of the movements that are the heaviest parts of the watch when they are made in brass: namely the mainplate and five bridges (barrel bridge, balance bridge, pallet bridge, pallet-wheel bridge and chronograph bridge). The Manufacture has also maintained the silicon double chronograph wheel, while adding a lever and an escape-wheel made from the same high-tech, light, antimagnetic material that is harder than steel and guarantees excellent efficiency. The result is a one-quarter lighter motor organ weighing just 15.45 g (compared with 21.10 g for a similar classic movement).
Sleek, masculine bodywork
In terms of the watch exterior, the designers reworked the 42 mm-diameter case of the El Primero Striking 10th while also seeking to make it as light as possible on the wrist.
The choice of carbon, with its fine black color and its "checkerboard” effect evoking the world of competition, fits the bill perfectly, while also reinforcing the technical and sporty look of the model. The inner structure of the case is made of aluminum transformed into ceramic, a cutting-edge material that is both light, sturdy and durable (1800 Vickers, as against 160-200 for 316L steel). The two chronograph pushpieces are in titanium. The openworked lugs accentuate the aerodynamic profile of the watch. They also ensure a perfect flow into the integrated black rubber and high-performance Nomex synthetic fiber strap equipped with a triple folding clasp providing optimal security and comfort.
A stylish dashboard
The new El Primero Lightweight is also distinguished by its highly original dial featuring a dynamic reinterpretation of the collection’s design codes. Openworking the central part further enhances the overall effect of lightness while providing a clear view of the El Primero caliber (also visible through the transparent caseback). The disc-type date display has been lightened and reworked with pierced numerals standing out on a small red disc at 6 o’clock. The faceted hands have been hollowed as much as possible and then highlighted by a luminescent coating. The light gray, blue and anthracite colors recapture the three emblematic colors of the 1969 El Primero chronograph that have since become iconic brand features. The red direct-drive seconds hand with its small Zenith star accurately measures feats to the nearest tenth of a second – just like the dashboard displays of the greatest racing champions. Sporty, contemporary and decidedly masculine by nature, the El Primero Lightweight model brings a distinctive touch to the Zenith collections, while powerfully confirming the innovative capacities and the creating daring cultivated by the Manufacture. With its avant-garde technology and youthful, dynamic look, it shows that the El Primero caliber still has a bright future ahead of it for many years to come!
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