2021 Zenith Chronomaster Sport Review

by Chamath Gamage
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Pros:

  • El Primero 3600 movement with 1/10th of a second chronograph
  • Tri-coloured dials add a touch of class
  • Rolex Ceramic Daytona anyone?

Cons:

  • Some may find it heavy on the wrist after a long period of wear
  • To change links have to unscrew using two screwdrivers
  • Some may not appreciate the monochromatic oscillating weight

Over All Rating: 8.1

  • Value for money – 8.0/10
  • Wearability – 8.0/10
  • Design – 8.5/10
  • Build Quality – 8/10

Zenith has shown great success during the LVMH Watch Week 2020 in Dubai, which is why alongside other LVMH brands, they are now releasing their latest watches in a one-week online event. Zenith will put together a special presentation that is a mix of digital and physical representations to showcase the latest timepieces. 

Reference: 03.3100.3600/69.M3100

One of these latest models to leave the Zenith Manufacture is the new Chronomaster Sport. For Zenith, 2021 has been dubbed the year of the Chronomaster. The focus of the LVMH week for Zenith will of course then be on this latest Chronomaster Sport release, which features an evolved version of the El Primero movement, now being able to allow for 1/10th of a second measurement! 

Zenith CEO Julien Tornare spoke about the importance of LVMH event and also Chronomaster by stating that “My team and I are thrilled to finally be able to share with you something we’ve been working on for quite some time – a true evolution of a modern Zenith signature piece! The Chronomaster Sport sets a new standard of precision, performance and design for the staple Zenith automatic chronograph. We can’t wait to show you this watch in your markets very soon so that you can touch, feel and experience one of our most significant launches for 2021 in person.”

Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100

The Chronomaster line is one of the more iconic chronograph collections in the 21st century. The watch upholds Zenith’s traditions of creating chronograph timepieces that are exceptional and standard-setting. Using design cues from multiple models from Zenith’s past, and an all-new El Primero movement, the latest Chronomaster Sport timepieces are sure to be popular in no time. At WatchAdvice, we had the opportunity to review both the black dial and white dial variants of the new Chronomaster Sport.

Case:

The new Chronomaster Sport comes in a stainless steel 41mm case for both the black dial and white dial variants. Using a 41mm case size is a good choice as it will cater to a lot more people who don’t prefer oversized timepieces. The previous Chronomaster Sport being 45mm, would’ve been big to accommodate for most wrists. 

Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100

The bezel used, is certainly a first for Zenith and the Chronomaster line. The ceramic bezel gives the Chornomaster Sport that “wow” factor while giving the timepiece a much sportier look. Whether you prefer the black or white dial, the black ceramic bezel compliments both nicely. The Chronomaster Sport comes with a water resistance rating of 100m (10bar). 

Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100

Dial:

To create the latest Chronomaster Sport, Zenith has used different chronograph models from their past as sources of inspiration. The legendary El Primero A386 serves as the basis for this latest creation. Other models that Zenith took design cues from including the pre-El Primero A277 with its black bezel and dot markers, the El Primero Rainbow with its polished bezel engraved with tachymeter scale and the polished and satin-brushed bracelet of the El Primero De Luca. 

Left -Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100 and Right – Reference: 03.3100.3600/69.M3100

The Chronomaster Sport as mentioned previously comes with two colour variants; the black lacquered dial or the white matte dial. The sub counters have a tri-colour layout, which makes each counter stand out different depending on the dial colour. 

Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100

The counters are the 60-second counter at 3 o’clock, 60-minute counter at 6 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock. On the black lacquered dial, all three counters certainly stand out with the grey 6 o’clock counter somewhat blending in the most.

Reference: 03.3100.3600/69.M3100

The white matte dial option with the black ceramic bezel offers a contrasting look to the timepiece. While the tri-counters stand out, the 9 o’clock silver sub-counter somewhat blends in. In fact, this sub-counter is the hardest to read out of the three counters as the markings on the counter are white as well, which when added with the shine on the silver sub-counter blends in.

Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100

The hour markers along with the hour and minute hands are rhodium-plated, faceted and have been coated with Super-LumiNova SLN C1. Personally, it feels that the markers stand out the best on the white dial option thanks to the contrast. Zenith has also added a very subtle date window between the 4 o’clock and 5 o’clock positions.

Movement:

The movement is Zenith’s latest evolution of the famed El Primero. The result of over 50 years of working and perfecting this calibre, the El Primero 3600 comes packed with updated features. The Calibre 3600 movement comes with a frequency of 5hz (36, 000 VpH) and is able to precisely produce 1/10th of a second rotation. This 1/10th of a second feature is easily readable and is not only displayed on the bezel but also directly on the dial as well.

Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100

The power reserve of the Calibre 3600 movement is extended to approximately 60 hours. The watch does come with an open sapphire display case back in which the calibre 3600 movement can be seen. With the hollowed rotor which has Zenith’s five-pointed star, more of this beautiful movement can be seen.

How does it wear:

Straight off the bat let’s get something clarified. Am I the only one who thinks this looks like a Rolex Ceramic Daytona?

Reference: 03.3100.3600/69.M3100 on a 6.5 inch wrist

On a 6.5 inch wrist, the 41mm casing sits well. The lug to lug measurements of just 47mm and with a thickness of just 13mm means that this will be a great office watch and an even better daily watch. However, it is a possibility that one may find this to be heavy on the wrist after a full day of wearing it.

Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100 on a 6.5 inch wrist

I spent a decent amount of time with both the black and white dial variants. After wearings and comparing both side by side, in my opinion, the black lacquered dial just pops compared to the white matte dial. I just felt that with the white dial, the tri-coloured dials seemed washed out whereas with the black dial, the sundials were luscious in colour. It’s worth noting that compared to the previous version (which was a 45mm casing) this 41mm case size will appeal to a lot of watch collectors out there. 

Reference: 03.3100.3600/69.M3100 on a 6.5 inch wrist

The dial layout is clean and easy to read. If you managed to pick one up you will find yourself gazing at that dial a lot more than you would expect. One thing to note is the position of the crown when setting the time and date. The first position is to set the date and second is to set the time. I found myself accidentally setting the date more often than setting the time due to the crown positions, as traditionally date is set to the second crown position. It’s worth noticing that pulling the crown to adjust date/time whilst on the wrist may be a tricky task if you have fat fingers like myself!

Reference: 03.3100.3600/69.M3100

The chronograph pushers are easy to use and feel solid, however, one may find the pushers to be sticking out a touch (maybe one too many mm). Then again people complain about the Rolex Daytona screw-in chronograph pushers. Upon operation, you will find the 1/10th of a second runs in a sort of “jumping motion” rather than sweeping motion one finds in Zenith’s Defy 21 models.

Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100 on a 6.5 inch wrist
Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100 on a 6.5 inch wrist

Brushed and polished centre links on the bracelet feel solid on the wrist and comfortable to wear. The bracelet has a micro-adjustment feature but unfortunately, no quick adjustment on the go. It is worth noting that to change links you will require two screwdrivers. 

Reference: 03.3100.3600/69.M3100 on a 6.5 inch wrist

Turning over the watch, I got to enjoy the beautiful El Primero 3600 automatic movement in action through the (now bigger in size) open caseback. The monochromatic oscillating weight blends well into the rest of the movement. 

Reference: 03.3100.3600/21.M3100

Priced at 14,300 AUD, I think its great value for the calibre of watch it represents. I mean the Rolex Ceramic Daytona is priced at 18,500 AUD and unless you are a VIP at your local AD, there is not a chance of ever owning one. But that’s where Zenith will come in. With sharp looks and even sharper pricing, collectors will start to look at the redefined chronometer sports under a different light (in a very good way!).

Chronomaster Sport Specification:

  • Case: 41 mm (20mm Lug width, lug-lug 47mm and thickness of 13mm)
  • Case Material: Steel
  • Dial: Black or White
  • Crystal: Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
  • Water resistance: 100 meters
  • Movement: El Primero 3600, (column-wheel chronograph, hour, minutes, hacking seconds and date)
  • Power reserve: minimum of 60 hours
  • Strap: Steel Bracelet or Optional Rubber strap

Australian Retail Pricing : $14,300.00 AUD

Availability: Available End of January 2021

Enquire at 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
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