Timelessly elegant dress watches define the Zenith Elite collection. Its caliber by the same name is ultra-thin with a 100-hour power reserve and was named the "Best Movement of the Year" in 1994. Highlights in this series feature a tourbillon.
The watches in the Zenith Elite collection are traditional dress watches with simple designs and retro touches. The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Zenith released the first models from this series in 1994. At that time, mechanical watches were just becoming popular again after cheap, battery-powered quartz watches took over the market in the 1970s and 80s, damaging the Swiss watch industry. It was thus the perfect time to present a new automatic movement. The Elite caliber is an important staple in Zenith's portfolio along with the iconic chronograph movement El Primero. Thanks to its extremely flat construction, the Elite fits in remarkably thin watch cases. Earlier models with the Elite 6150 have a power reserve lasting 100 hours, a rarity in the world of automatic watches.
Top models in this collection feature a tourbillon, a complication which improves accuracy. This mechanism is a sign of true watchmaking skills. The Zenith Elite Tourbillon is one of the Le Locle-based manufacturer's most exquisite luxury timepieces, and you can view its rotating cage on the dial side. Eighteen-karat rose gold versions are especially refined and cost over 50,000 euros when new.
Fans of the El Primero caliber should take a look at the Elite Chronograph Classic. True to the series, this chronograph has a classic, elegant design. Thanks to a balance wheel swinging rapidly at 36,000 A/h, the movement is able to measure 1/10ths of a second. The subdials for the small seconds and the 30-minute counter are at nine and three o'clock. Since the designer decided against adding a date display and hour counter for this timepiece, the dial has an especially symmetrical and harmonious look. New stainless steel models cost less than 5,000 euros.
|Elite Tourbillon, Ref. 18.2192.4041/01.C498||50,000 euros||Tourbillon, rose gold|
|Elite 6150, Ref. 18.2270.6150/01.C498||9,500 euros||100-hour power reserve, rose gold|
|Elite Chronograph Classic, Ref. 03.2270.4069/01.C493||5,000 euros||El Primero chronograph caliber|
|Elite Dual Time, Ref. 03.1125.682/02.C490||4,500 euros||Second time zone|
|Elite Power Reserve, Ref. 03.2122.685/01.C498||4,200 euros||Power reserve indicator|
|Elite Classic, Ref. 03.2290.679/51.C700||3,700 euros||39 mm, blue dial, 9.45-mm thick|
Many Elite models make affordable entry pieces into the world of Zenith. In order to raise production numbers and appeal to a wider rage of customers, the manufacturer used calibers from Sellita in their more inexpensive three-hand timepieces for a short period of time. Since there were relatively few of these watches produced, it remains to be seen whether their prices will increase in the future. Currently, a pre-owned, Sellita-powered model in very good condition costs around 3,000 euros.
Well-maintained versions with the classic Elite 670 caliber are significantly more affordable. This caliber features a central seconds hand and a date display halfway between four and five o'clock. These watches cost as little as 1,500 euros. You can also find many models with the 680 caliber, which features a small seconds at nine o'clock and a date window at three o'clock. If you'd like to know how much energy your watch has remaining, you should get one with a power reserve display. Two movements used in the Elite collection, the 685 and 655, have this feature. You should be prepared to spend at least 2,700 euros for a well-maintained pre-owned model and around 3,500 euros for a new one.
The best choice for frequent fliers is the Zenith Elite Dual Time. With the help of a central 24-hour hand, it displays the time in a second time zone. A pre-owned Dual Time watch in very good condition costs less than 3,000 euros, while new, it costs around 4,500 euros.
Zenith introduced the Elite 6150 caliber and the dress watch by the same name in 2015. The movement is an improvement on the automatic caliber released in 1994. Thanks to the use of two barrels, the new caliber has an astounding 100-hour power reserve , which equates to over four days. If you set your watch aside over a long weekend, it will still be running when you pick it back up to go to work. The caliber, comprised of 195 parts, has a diameter of 30 mm and is 3.92 mm thick. This makes it one of the thinnest automatic movements, allowing it to fit into a case only 10 mm thick. The 6150 is modular so additional functions can easily be added.
The new Elite case is waterproof to 30 m (3 bar) and is made of either stainless steel or rose gold. The timepiece is 42 mm in diameter, making it a few millimeters larger than the original model. The hour and minutes hands are leaf-shaped and very thin, as is the central seconds hand. Zenith uses fine stick indices on the dial edge to serve as minute and hour markers. Both the front and back side of the case are protected by scratch-resistant sapphire glass, giving you a view of the display and the movement, respectively. A new stainless steel model costs around 5,000 euros. Prices for gold models start at around 9,500 euros.
If 42 mm is too large for you, then you can take a look at the 39-mm version released in 2017. The slightly smaller timepiece is powered by the Elite 679, which has a power reserve lasting 50 hours and also powers some three-hand watches in the Pilot Type 20 Extra Special series. The Elite Classic's stainless steel or rose gold cases are only 9.45 mm thick and are waterproof to 50 m (5 bar). New stainless steel models cost around 3,700 euros, while the gold models cost 10,000 euros.
There are also many women's watches made of gold and set with diamonds in Zenith's Elite collection. One highlight is the 33-mm Elite Lady Moonphase (22.2310.690/79.C713), which features a moon phase display at six o'clock and 3.54 carats worth of diamonds on the bezel, case, and dial. The rose gold timepiece is only 8.65 mm thick and is paired with a brown alligator leather strap. New, this timepiece costs around 14,000 euros. If you prefer a simpler version, you can purchase a simple stainless steel model without diamonds for 4,400 euros.
If the 33-mm model is too small for you, then consider the 36-mm Zenith Elite Lady (03.2320.692/81.C714). The model has a classic, feminine look featuring Roman numerals and a white mother-of-pearl dial. This ladies' watch costs around 4,500 euros. The gold version with a bezel set with 64 diamonds, a mother-of-pearl dial, and stick indices costs around 10,000 euros.
The Elite caliber was one of the biggest sensations in the watch industry in 1994. It was one of the first movements to be developed with computerized programs. It was named the "Best Movement of the Year" in 1994 for its thinness and high level of quality. The ultra-thin 3.28-mm caliber has a 55-hour power reserve, thereby outperforming a number of comparable movements from manufacturers such as ETA or Sellita. The popular ETA 2824-2, for example, only has a 40-hour power reserve. The Zenith Elite has a centrally-positioned rotor supported by ball bearings which winds the mainspring bidirectionally. Thanks to its stop-seconds mechanism, you can set the time to the exact second. The movement is available with a central seconds, small seconds, power reserve display, or second time zone. It's known as a precise, high quality, and reliable movement.