When Zenith’s most iconic movement, the El Primero calibre was released in 1969, it was to be housed in two very different yet distinct models. The first being the sportier watches in the tonneau-shaped steel cases such as the A384 model and the second being the more traditional round case watch in steel or gold, with the most notable reference being the A386.
In 1971 however, Zenith released the A3817 that would serve as an exception to this rule. The A3817 model combined design cues from both A384 and A386 references. It made use of the sportier steel tonneau-shaped case and used the A386 model’s striking tri-colour dial, which ultimately resulted in a unique and quite aesthetic design. Due to only 1000 models of the A3817 being produced at the time, it remains among the early El Primero references as one of the most distinguished, elusive, and sought-after timepieces among vintage collectors.
Housed in a 37mm stainless steel case, the latest release by Zenith sees the Chronomaster Revival A3817 being made from the same angled tonneau-shaped case with the pump style pushers as the original model had back in 1971. The case design and sizing for the Chronomaster Revival was created using historical blueprints and reverse-engineering which gave accurate measurements of the original A3817 design.
Like the original, the Chronomaster Revival A3817 comes with a white lacquered dial. The tri-chronograph counter layout features small seconds at 9 o’clock, a 12 hour counter at 6 o’clock, and a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. The iconic colours of the A386 dial which was used for the original A3817 are retained in this model, with the 3 o’clock counter in blue, and 6 and 9 o’clock counters in different shades of grey. The 9 o’clock counter has a nice added effect of having the indications and hand done in blue to provide a nice contrast effect.
The tachymeter scale on the outer ring of the dial also serves to act as a pulsometer, which can be a handy and precise function. With the second’s track, Zenith states “The seconds track is done in a pyramid pattern affectionately nicknamed the “shark tooth” scale, which enhances legibility with a distinctly retro touch.” The hour markers and hands are done in a way to make them stand out in what is quite a colourful dial. The rhodium-plated hands and indices have been coated with beige Superluminova which also make them more noticeable especially against the white lacquered dial.
The movement used inside the latest Chronomaster Revival A3817 is the El Primero 400 automatic. Giving out a frequency of 36, 000 VpH (5Hz), the El Primero 400 calibre movement has a minimum power reserve of 50 hours. The most noticeable difference between the original A3817 and this latest revival piece is the open case back on the new model. With the open view of the case back on the Chronomaster Revival A3817, one can easily see and admire the legendary El Primero automatic chronograph movement that has remained an iconic movement among chronographs for the last 50 years.
Two strap options are available for the Chronomaster Revival A3817 to complete the overall “retro look”. The first being the iconic steel “ladder” bracelet which is a modern remake by Zenith of the Gay Frères bracelets of the original El Primero timepieces, and the second being a light brown calf leather strap, which over time will develop a patina, becoming unique to each wearer.
This latest Chronomaster Revival A3817 is available May 2021 exclusively at Zenith Boutiques around the world and Zeniths online shop.