“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

Zenith at Watches and Wonders 2022

In Geneva, Zenith presented the revamped Chronomaster Open line as well as the new Chronomaster Sport under its new ‘Master of Chronographs Since 1865’ concept – with a traveling exhibition and an online platform. 

Earlier this year Zenith generated quite a buzz with its limited edition DEFY Revival A3642 timepiece, and at the Watches and Wonders 2022 it was all about their chronographs. 

The ‘Master of Chronographs’ is a new 360-degree platform that has been developed to share the manufacture’s unique know-how through its history, collections, movements and its mastery of the high-frequency chronographs. The concept includes both physical and digital elements. 

The ‘Master of Chronographs since 1865’ travelling exhibition – which was on view in Geneva – highlights the manufacture’s milestones with 15 emblematic pieces in the field of automatic chronographs. This exhibition along with the Watch Clinic (a personal ‘watchmaker’ experience at the Zenith manufacture and at selected ZENITH flagship boutiques around the world) will make its way across the world with road shows and pop-up events, starting in China from May and the USA in June. 

About this year’s theme, Julien Tornare (Zenith CEO) shared ‘For ZENITH, Master of Chronographs is not just a claim, but an aspiration. It’s a mission and a commitment. It’s something that we have cultivated and, I would say, rightfully earned over many years. We’ve contributed so much to the advancement of the modern chronograph, that we feel a certain responsibility to continue leading its evolution, but also to share our know-how with the world and allow people to appreciate the chronograph in a new way. We’ve worked for some time now on immersive and interactive ways to highlight the chronograph, and “Master of Chronographs Since 1865” is the perfect platform to link all these initiatives. This is a new gateway for people to learn about the chronograph and how ZENITH has mastered it and elevated it to new heights’.

Zenith Chronomaster Open 

Skeleton and open (or partially open) dials are a great way for watch companies to put their movements in the spotlight. In 2003, Zenith introduced the Chronomaster Open with the aim to show the regulating organ and escapement of the El Primero calibre. This 42mm model is discontinued now and Zenith replaced it with the new line, currently in three options, all in a very wearable 39.5mm case: two in stainless steel, with a silver or black dial and one in rose gold with a silver dial. 

Beside the smaller case size the new version looks much more ‘light’ – somehow the placement and the proportions of the cut-out make it more balanced. Zenith kept the signature three colours counter with a help of a hesalite (a very resilient plexiglass material with excellent optical properties) element that serves as a readable sub-dial at 9 o’clock while allowing a view onto the silicon star-shaped escape wheel. The cut-out is a circular, bubble-like opening with chamfered edges – which is also visually ‘lighter’ compared to the former version’s applied metal ‘frame’. 

The movement peeking out from the cut-out is the El Primero 3604 calibre; the newly developed movement is based on the El Primero 3600 1/10th of a second automatic high-frequency calibre, with a more open architecture. 

Zenith Chronomaster Sport

Early in 2021 Zenith launched the 41mm Chronomaster Sport watch with a dedicated movement, the Calibre 3600. The latest generation of the renowned automatic chronograph calibre, the El Primero 3600 has a 60-hour power reserve. It beats at the same high frequency of 5Hz (36’000 VpH) as its predecessor, though its performance has been elevated to offer a 1/10th of a second chronograph function. 

This watch won the Chronograph award at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2021 and quickly became a hit for those looking for steel chronographs. 

A rose gold version was released in May 2021 with a white dial and black ceramic bezel. 

Now the company launched Zenith the Chronomaster Sport entirely in rose gold – including the bracelet and engraved bezel with 1/10th of a second scale. Available with either a black or white dial with golden hands and applied markers – the colour of the rose gold and the hues of the sub-dials give a warmer look to the models. 

My favourite release from this line is the first boutique edition – it is exclusively available at Zenith’s physical and online boutiques around the world. This stainless steel version opts for a silver sunray-patterned dial and an engraved ceramic bezel, which consists of three separate coloured ceramic elements in the traditional El Primero tri-colour palette of grey, anthracite and blue that have been seamlessly forged together.