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Zenith El Primero

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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Blue United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open Blue Steel/Leather 42mm -...
$6,139
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3051
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Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Grey United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Grey Steel 38mm - 03.2150.400/2...
$6,679
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3051
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 45mm Transparent United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open Silver Steel 45mm -...
$7,719
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3051
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Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Grey United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Grey Steel/Leather 38mm -...
$5,669
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3051
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Gold/Steel 42mm Silver United States of America, New Hampshire, Nashua
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Zenith stainless steel and 18k rose gold Chronomaster El Primero
$6,000
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156
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Ceramic 42mm Black No numerals United States of America, California, Irvine
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 36,000 VPH
$6,495
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11
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Zenith El Primero Rose gold 42mm Brown United States of America, Massachusetts, Boston
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH
$12,600
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rose gold 42mm Brown United States of America, New York, Brooklyn
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1966 Legend of Cohiba Edition
$10,500
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Zenith El Primero Steel 44mm Black Arabic numerals United States of America, California, SAN DIEGO
Zenith El Primero
$4,250
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9
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm United States of America, Florida, Sarasota
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open 42mm Men's Watch 03.2040.4...
$5,899
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747
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Zenith El Primero Titanium 37mm Blue No numerals United States of America, California, Cupertino
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Zenith El Primero A384 "Edge of Space" Bamford Limited Edition...
$10,150
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Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42.00mm Silver United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 42 Stainless Steel / Silver /...
$5,569
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3051
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Zenith El Primero Gold/Steel 44mm Silver United States of America, California, Beverly Hills
Zenith El Primero Rattrapante
$9,950
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107
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Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Silver No numerals United States of America, New Jersey, Oradell
Zenith El Primero - Chronomaster - 42mm - 36'000 VpH -...
$5,675
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448
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Zenith El Primero Rose gold 38mmmm United States of America, North Carolina, Charlotte
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Zenith El Primero A386 Revival 50th Anniversary
$23,000
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Zenith El Primero Steel Silver United States of America, Illinois, Chicago
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Zenith El Primero
$8,250
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Ceramic 45mm Black United States of America, New York, Brooklyn
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Bullit
$9,950
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster White gold 42mm Silver United States of America, Florida, Boca Raton
Zenith Chronomaster Gt Moonphase El Primero Flyback 18k White...
$12,999
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190
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 38mm United States of America, Florida, Sarasota
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Full Open Skeleton Dial 38mm...
$6,499
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747
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Titanium 45mm Black United States of America, Illinois, Northfield
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rolling Stones
$7,095
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104
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42.00mm Silver United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open Stainless Steel / Silver...
$5,919
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3051
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Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Silver No numerals United States of America, Iowa, Des Moines
Zenith El Primero Vph - 03.2040.400/69.C494
$6,400
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1318
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Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Silver No numerals United States of America, New Jersey, Oradell
Zenith El Primero - Original 1969 - Chronomaster - 38mm -...
$6,750
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448
US
Zenith El Primero Steel 45mm Silver United States of America, Florida, Miami
Zenith El Primero
Price on request
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22
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Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Silver No numerals United States of America, Florida, Orlando
Zenith El Primero Original
$5,575
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113
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Ceramic 45mm Black No numerals United States of America, Pennsylvania, Bala Cynwyd
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyblack Chronograph 24.2064.405/24....
$6,450
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1159
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rose gold 42mm Silver United States of America, Florida, Boca Raton
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 18k Rose Gold 18.2080.4021/01.C494
$12,999
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190
US
Zenith El Primero Chronograph Rose gold 42mm Brown No numerals United States of America, New Jersey, Princeton
Zenith El Primero Legend of Cohiba Chronograph 18kt Gold Edition
$9,780
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682
US
Zenith El Primero Synopsis Steel 40mm Silver United States of America, Texas, Austin
Zenith : El Primero Synopsis : 03.2170.4613/01.C713 : ...
$3,535
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636
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Ceramic 42mm Grey United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Range Rover Chronograph...
$5,879
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3051
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Silver No numerals United States of America, Iowa, Des Moines
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 - 03.2040.4061/69.C496
$7,100
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1318
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 37mm White No numerals United States of America, New Jersey, Oradell
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster - Revival A384
$6,575
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448
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Rose gold United States of America, Florida, Miami
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
Price on request
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22
US
Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Silver No numerals United States of America, Florida, Orlando
Zenith El Primero Original
$5,175
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113
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Titanium 45mm Black No numerals United States of America, Pennsylvania, Bala Cynwyd
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Rolling Stones Limited...
$7,450
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1159
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Zenith El Primero Steel Black United States of America, New York, NY
Zenith EL PRIMERO GRANDE CLASS EL PRIMERO STAINLESS STEEL...
$3,605
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100
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Silver No numerals United States of America, New York, New York
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open 42mm Mens Watch
$8,050
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703
US
Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Steel 44mm Black United States of America, Ohio, Mason
Zenith El Primero Tourbillon Chronograph Black 03.2050.4035/21...
$16,499
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1123
US
Zenith El Primero Sport Steel 45mm Silver United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith El Primero Sport Chronograph Automatic Silver Dial...
$6,079
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3051
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Zenith El Primero Steel Blue United States of America, Iowa, Des Moines
Zenith El Primero - 03.2040.4061/51.C700
$8,100
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1318
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Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Blue United States of America, New Jersey, Oradell
Zenith El Primero - 146 - Heritage - Chronomaster - Discontinu...
$5,675
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448
US
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Grey No numerals United States of America, Florida, Miami
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH
Price on request
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22
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Zenith El Primero Chronograph Steel 40mm Silver Arabic numerals United States of America, Texas, Austin
Zenith : Class Open El Primero Chronograph: 03.0510.4021/02.c4...
$4,470
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636
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Titanium 45mm Black No numerals United States of America, Pennsylvania, Bala Cynwyd
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Rolling Stones Limited...
$6,750
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1159
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Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar Steel 42mm Grey Arabic numerals
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Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar 03.2072.4054/18.C711
$7,219
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28
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 45mm Transparent No numerals United States of America, New York, New York
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Grande Date Full Open
$9,900
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703
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 40mm Silver Roman numerals United States of America, New York, New York
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster
$5,950
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20
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42.00mm Blue United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Open Stainless Steel / Blue...
$6,759
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3051
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Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel Silver No numerals United States of America, New York, Brooklyn
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH 42mm Brown Strap, reference #...
$4,850
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US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Aluminum 42mm Grey No numerals United States of America, New Jersey, Oradell
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster - Range Rover - 36000 VpH
$5,295
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448
US
Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar Steel 42mm Silver No numerals United States of America, Florida, Miami
Zenith El Primero Winsor Annual Calendar
Price on request
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22
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Zenith El Primero Rose gold 42mm Silver No numerals United States of America, New Jersey, Princeton
Zenith El Primero
$21,880
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682
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Ceramic 45mm Black No numerals United States of America, Pennsylvania, Bala Cynwyd
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyblack Chronograph 24.2064.405/24....
$5,750
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1159
US
Zenith El Primero Rose gold 39mm Black Arabic numerals United States of America, Texas, Dallas
Zenith El Primero 17.0500.400/21
$7,450
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217
US
Zenith El Primero Steel 37mm White No numerals United States of America, Florida, Orlando
Zenith El Primero
$6,375
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113
US
Zenith El Primero Espada 40mm Brown United States of America, California, Beverly Hills
Zenith 18.2170.4650/75.C713 El Primero Espada Series in Rose...
$8,268
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116
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 42mm Silver United States of America, California, San Mateo
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Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open Sliver Rubber Strap / 42mm...
$6,199
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3051
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Steel 40mm Black Roman numerals
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Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Moonphases Triple Calendar -...
$4,925
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751
NL
Zenith El Primero 36'000 VpH Steel 42mm Silver No numerals United States of America, New Jersey, Oradell
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero - 42mm - Bracelet - Chronograph...
$6,750
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448
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Gold/Steel Brown United States of America, Florida, Miami
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback
Price on request
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22
US
Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Ceramic 42mm Grey United States of America, New York, New York
Zenith Chronomaster El Primero 42mm Mens Watch
$8,800
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703
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Steel Black United States of America, New York, New York
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback
$4,950
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20
US
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Steel 45mm Black Arabic numerals United States of America, Georgia, Atlanta
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Steel Mens Watch 03.2061.405
$4,590
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758
US
Zenith El Primero Original 1969 Steel 38mm Silver No numerals United States of America, Florida, Orlando
Zenith El Primero Original
$5,675
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113
US

Precision Since 1969

The Zenith El Primero was the first automatic chronograph caliber in the world. Oscillating at a high frequency, this movement can measure 1/10th of a second. Current top models are made of gold and have a tourbillon and skeletonized movement.


Highlights

  • Top Zenith El Primero models feature a tourbillon
  • High balance frequency enabling chronographs to measure 1/10th of a second
  • Defy El Primero 21 with two escapements, measures 1/100th of a second
  • 50-hour power reserve

Zenith El Primero: The First of Its Kind

The El Primero (Spanish for "the first") is inextricably tied to the Swiss watch manufacturer Zenith. The caliber rocketed the company to fame and earned them a place in the history books. The El Primero was introduced in 1969, making it the first automatic chronograph caliber worldwide. Thanks to its unusually high balance frequency of 36,000 A/h (5 Hz), it can measure 1/10th of a second – an ability that, to this day, remains a rarity in mechanical chronographs.

In spite of this high balance frequency, the movement runs for 50 hours once fully wound. In comparison, ETA's Valjoux 7750 only has a power reserve of around 44 hours. This movement is the most frequently used automatic chronograph caliber in the world. Today, Zenith is a master of timekeeping, offering ultra-precise watches such as flyback and double chronographs.

Current top models from Zenith using the El Primero caliber have skeletonized movements with a tourbillon and are made of ceramic or rose gold. If the skeletonized movement isn't a requirement for you, you can go for an El Primero Tourbillon instead. This model is available in stainless steel, titanium, or 18-karat rose gold. Tech lovers will be taken with the Defy El Primero 21 , which was introduced in 2017. The watch features two escapements: one for displaying time and the other for the chronograph function. The chronograph escapement vibrates at 50 Hz, ten times the speed of the standard El Primero. Its speed allows it to measure 1/100th of a second. This is an exceptional achievement in the world of mechanical watches.


How much does a Zenith El Primero cost?

Pre-owned Zenith chronographs with an El Primero caliber are available at comparably affordable prices. Models from the 1990s in good or very good condition start at around 1,500 euros. Gold watches from this time are only a bit more expensive, ranging between 1,700 and 2,000 euros. If you're looking for a wristwatch with an automatic in-house caliber and stopwatch function, then the Zenith El Primero could be the right fit for you. Models from the 90s are very affordable.

Prices for models from the 1980s start at around 2,300 euros, but can go up to and over 6,000 euros. The more expensive models have an 18-karat gold case and are powered by the caliber 3019PHF. The movement features a moon phase display as well as a complete calendar. A complete calendar displays the date, the day, and the month, but needs to be manually corrected during months with less than 31 days. The timepiece is also known as the El Primero 410. Without the calendar function, a pre-owned vintage watch from the 80s costs between 3,200 and 3,800 euros.


Detailed Price Information

Model Price (approx.) Features Case material
El Primero Tourbillon GFJ, Ref. 18.2520.4805/98.C713 72,000 euros Fusée-and-chain transmission, tourbillon Rose gold
El Primero Tourbillon, Ref. 18.2280.4035/01.C713 55,000 euros Tourbillon Rose gold
El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton, Ref. 49.2520.4035/98.R576 33,000 euros Tourbillon, skeletonized dial and movement Ceramic
El Primero Grande Date Full Open, Ref. 03.2530.4047/78.C813 7,900 euros Oversized date, moon phase display, escape wheel, silicon pallet fork Stainless steel
El Primero Full Open, Ref. 03.2081.400/78.C813 7,200 euros Skeletonized dial and movement Stainless steel
El Primero Open, Ref. 03.2040.4061/69.C496 6,500 euros Partly skeletonzied dial, silicon escape wheel and pallet fork Stainless steel
El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow, Ref. 03.2061.405/21.M2060 6,000 euros Flyback chronograph, rotatable bezel, multicolor 30-minute counter Stainless steel
El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th, Ref. 03.2060.4057/69.C714 5,700 euros Flyback chronograph, rotatable bezel, chronograph second hand makes one full 360-degree rotation in 10 seconds Stainless steel
El Primero Stratos Flyback, Ref. 03.2066.405/69.R515 5,400 euros Flyback chronograph, rotatable bezel Stainless steel
El Primero 38.00, Ref. 03.2150.400/69.C713 4,800 euros 38-mm diameter, retro design resembling the original from 1969 Stainless steel
El Primero Synopsis, Ref. 03.2170.4613/21.C714 4,500 euros Three-hand version, partly skeletonized dial, silicon escape wheel and pallet fork Stainless steel

Zenith El Primero

Early models from the first year of their release are often appealing to collectors. A Zenith El Primero in good condition from 1969 can be purchased for as little as 5,000 euros. Models in very good condition cost 6,000 euros, while gold versions start at 8,500 euros. Compared to other vintage chronographs, the Zenith watch is very affordable. A Heuer Monaco from 1969 costs at least 13,500 euros. The Calibre 11, another one of the first automatic chronograph calibers, powers these chronographs. Stainless steel Rolex Daytonas from the 1960s, which are manual, often cost over 50,000 euros. Both of these examples show the relative affordability of a pre-owned Zenith El Primero.


New Watch Prices

New watches with the El Primero cost less than 4,000 euros. The 38-mm Chronomaster El Primero 38.00 timepieces come closest to the first watches from 1969. Prices for new stainless steel variants (03.2150.400/69.C713) start at around 4,800 euros. Retro models with an 18-karat rose gold case cost around 10,000 euros. Stainless steel versions with a partly skeletonized dial, called the El Primero Open, cost around 6,500 euros. This model gives you a view of the escapement and swing systems. If you want to be able to marvel at the movement from the front and back, then you should take a look at the Full Open variant. Stainless steel Full Opens cost about 7,200 euros. The El Primero Grande Date with an oversized date display is in the same price range.


Zenith El Primero Plus Tourbillon

Top Zenith El Primero models are made of rose gold and feature a tourbillon, which increases a watch's precision by compensating for gravity-related deviations from the correct time. The model with reference number 18.2280.4035/01.C713 costs almost 55,000 euros new. The version with a titanium case costs 10,000 euros less. The Chronomaster El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton is available with a lightweight, hard, and scratch-resistant ceramic case. Additionally, the dial and movement are skeletonized. You should be prepared to spend at least 33,000 euros on this black watch. Rose gold models cost around 48,000 euros.

One highlight from the Le Locle-based manufacturer is the Chronomaster El Primero Tourbillon GFJ . The last three letters, GFJ, are the initials of the company's founder, Georges Favre-Jacot. Zenith introduced the model in 2015 in celebration of the company's 150th anniversary. This wristwatch has Zenith's first tourbillon movement that uses a fusée-and-chain transmission. This system ensures a constant driving force and thus incredible precision. The El Primero Tourbillon GFJ is available with a ceramic or 18-karat rose gold case. The rose gold version costs over 70,000 euros new.


Zenth's Speedy Sport Watches

The majority of the chronographs using the Zenith El Primero have a sporty-elegant design. Therefore, most of them are perfect everyday watches that you can wear to the office or in your free time. Some timepieces, on the other hand, are true sports watches , such as the Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback. It has a rotatable bezel and flyback function. You can purchase this model pre-owned for around 4,000 euros. Prices for new models start at around 5,400 euros.

The El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th (03.2060.4057/69.C714) is an particularly special watch; its central stopwatch seconds hand only needs 10 seconds to make a complete rotation. This mechanism makes it easier to read tenths of seconds. Usually, this hand needs 60 seconds to rotates 360 degrees. You should be prepared to spend at least 5,700 euros on this watch.

The El Primero Rainbow is also a popular model among fans. The manufacturer developed the Rainbow in the 1990s based on the needs of the French military. The company introduced the pilot's watch to the market in 1997. These Rainbow timepieces feature a multi-color 30-minute counter at three o'clock, a red chronograph seconds hand, and a rotatable bezel. The first 20 minutes of the scale on the bezel are in red. Using the telemeter scale on the rehaut, the edge of the dial, you can calculate distances. Models from the 90s often cost less than 3,000 euros. Current versions of the Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow are 45.5 mm large and cost 6,000 euros new.


1969: An Exciting Year

Nineteen sixty-nine was a significant year in many aspects. That summer, the first men landed on the Moon with the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch on their wrists. Richard Nixon became the 37th President of the United States, and the Woodstock Festival went down in music history. There were also historical moments happening in the watch world, such as the competition to create the first automatic chronograph caliber between Zenith, Seiko, and a team made up of Heuer, Breitling, Büren, and the chronograph specialists Dubois Dépraz.

Breitling and Heuer began developing an automatic chronograph caliber in the early 1960s, as standard manual movements were becoming less and less popular. Automatic movements, which made regularly winding your watch a thing of the past, were gaining in popularity. Heuer, Breitling, Dubois Dépraz, and Büren joined together to tackle the challenge of creating an automatic chronograph caliber. The result was the Calibre 11 with a chronograph module and micro-rotor. Due to technical reasons, the crown was on the left side, while the push-pieces for starting and stopping the chronograph were on the right. The movement was presented in March 1969.

Zenith had introduced their El Primero in January 1969. Unlike the Calibre 11, the El Primero was an integrated chronograph movement. That meant that the movement was designed for the purpose of timing and its components fit perfectly together. The Calibre 11 had a chronograph module that was mounted onto the base movement. The Zenith El Primero, however, first came to market in the autumn of 1969. The Japanese manufacturer Seiko sold the first wristwatches with automatic chronograph movements in the early summer of 1969.