Zenith has recently revealed the Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”, a timepiece clouded in mystery. It was a prototype back in 1970. But, the watch industry never got to see this timepiece produced, eluding collectors and Zenith enthusiasts for quite some time. Until now, that is.
The story behind this piece goes back to the quartz crisis when brands with mechanical watches were struggling to stay afloat. An American brand owned Zenith between 1971 to 1978, where they decided to scrap the mechanical watches and mostly produce quartz pieces instead. The presses, tools, designs along with Zenith’s watchmaking tradition was to be sold off to the highest bidder.
Charles Vermont, knowing what was about to happen, hid most of the mechanical plans to Zenith’s watches in a walled-off attic in workshop 4, one of Zenith’s Manufacturing facilities. He hid away almost 150 presses, cams, technical drawings and cutting tools. Among these plans were, of course, the legendary El Primero movement, but also the rare original prototype plans for a black chronograph model.
Back in 2019, a team came across the designs and notes to this black chronograph model as they were searching the attic, and essentially decided to restart the project which began almost 50 years ago. The team were amazed that they came across this as, during that time, Zenith was also celebrating the 50th anniversary of the El Primero movement. Something Charles Vermont will be very proud of.
The black chronograph, which has been renamed to the Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”, has now been re-created to suit modern standards. Instead of simply just reproducing a Zenith historical timepiece, the brand opted to take the original plans and give it a 21st-century touch.
The Chronomaster Revival Shadow comes in the original 1969 designed 37mm casing, which now features micro-blasted Titanium, instead of the stainless steel and superficial layer of black coating in the original prototypes. By using micro-blasted Titanium on the casing, it gives it a more dark grey matte finishing, while also being lightweight and highly durable. The Shadow features the regular hour and minute hand operations, along with 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and constant seconds counter at 9 o’clock position. The dial is kept black so it can provide a stark contrast between the grey counters, hour indexes and the hands. To round out the “Shadow” look of the watch, it comes with a black ‘Corduran effect’ strap, along with a micro-blasted titanium pin buckle.
Instead of using the 1970 manual winding chronograph movement, Zenith has given the Chornomaster Revival Shadow one of the most prolific movements made: the El Primero 4061 automatic movement. The movement which has a frequency of 36, 000 VPH (5hz) comes with a power reserve of approximately 50 hours. The movement can be visible through the watches open case back as well.
Once a prototype and a dream of what could have been, the Zenith Chronomaster Revival Shadow has finally come to life thanks to Charles Vermont’s brave efforts.
Zenith Chronomaster Revival Specification :
Model Reference: 97.T384.4061/21.C822 – SHADOW
Case Diameter: 37mm, Microblasted titanium casing
Dial: Black, Rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with SuperLuminova SLN C1 hour markers and hands
Case-back: Transparent Sapphire Crystal
Movement: El Primero 4061
Power Reserve: Min. 50 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes and chronograph.
Water Resistance: 5 ATM/50 Meters
Australian Pricing : $12,200.00
Availability: From August 2020
Local Authorised Dealers :
- Brisbane – The Hour Glass
- Melbourne – Monards ( Collins Street and Crown Casino) ,Gregory Jewellers and The Hour Glass
- Sydney – Hardy Brothers and Swiss Concept
- Perth – Barbagallo Watch