When Jean-Frédéric Dufour took the reigns at Zenith in 2009, he shifted the brand away from over-the-top styling with a “back to basics” message and an emphasis on product. Speaking with WatchTime’s Norma Buchanan for her profile Inside Guy in the December issue, Dufour said “I will devote all my energy, all my money, to El Primero, to make Zenith different from the others.” True to his word, Zenith launches the El Primero Tourbillon.
Zenith emphasizes this new piece it is not simply a tourbillon. Beyond that difficult-to-achieve complication, it is of course a chronograph, with a unique calendar display, in which the signature 36,000 vph frequency is retained, making it the only high-frequency tourbillon on the market today.
The dial’s asymmetric aesthetic highlights the tourbillon’s mechanism, visible through an opening in the dial, while maintaining the overall proportions and lines. The date is displayed – in a patented system – by means of a disk around the circumference of the tourbillon carriage.
The 44mm tourbillon comes in two models: steel or rose gold, with counters at three and six o’clock. The seconds hand in the tourbillon carriage rotates with it in 60 seconds.
High frequency motors generate greater precision, but they also demand increased power. To protect performance, Zenith designers have developed an in-line escapement that shifts the balance spring to the outer edge of the rotating carriage. The result is a tourbillon and a high-frequency automatic chronograph with over 50 hours of power reserve.
The caliber is composed of 381 components, including 67 for the rotating carriage, yet, it is barely 1mm thicker than the original El Primero. Mr. Dufour’s money has clearly been well spent.
The suggested USA retail prices are $49,700 in steel, and $66,800 in rose gold.
Additional information appears below the images, which may be enlarged with a click.
· El Primero 4035 D, Automatic
· Height: 7.55 mm
· Components: 381
· Jewels: 35
· Frequency: 36’000 VpH – (5 Hz)
· Power reserve: min. 50 hours
· Finishings: 18 carat Gold or metal oscillating weight with Côtes de Genève pattern.
· Caliber: 16 ½ lignes (Diameter: 37mm)
Hours and minutes in the center
· Central Second hand
· 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
· 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock
· The carriage is positioned at 11 o’clock
· The carriage makes one turn per minute
· The small second is on the carriage
· The date is positioned around the carriage
Case, Dial & Hands
· Material: Rose Gold or Stainless Steel
· Crystal: Box-form Sapphire glass with anti-reflection treatment on both sides
· Case-back: Transparent Sapphire glass
· Water-resistance: 10 ATM
· Dial: Black Sunray or Silver Sunray
· Hands: Rhodium Faceted with
· Case Diameter: 44mm
· Opening Diameter: 39 mm
· Indexes: Rhodium Faceted with Superluminova SLN C1 or Gold plated for Rose Gold version
Strap & Buckle
· Alligator leather strap lined with rubber protection
· Also available on triple folding buckle