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Zenith Chronomaster
Zenith Chronomaster

News of the new Zenith Chronomaster Original with black tricolor dial came our way last month and we were confused. How is a tricolor executed in black? Obviously, we must have been jetlagged because the answer is plainly evident in the image…once you stop thinking of the El Primero-powered chronograph subdials. That would have been the end of it, until we considered the last time we covered this particular variant of the Chronomaster, because we do have a bias towards the Open and Sports versions. As it turns out, we have never given the time of day to the Original (at least not in solo post) so this story corrects that oversight.

Zenith Chronomaster
Zenith Chronomaster

Very briefly then, in the harrowing days of 2021, Zenith delivered the first 38mm Chronomaster Original, which was a big deal because it was the first contemporary revival of the 1969 A386 model that was not a limited edition, nor in a precious metal, nor only available at the manufacture. Basically, that 2021 Chronomaster Original in steel was the most accessible version of the original look of the Zenith El Primero chronograph that changed watchmaking in 1969; the new black dial version follows up on this. So there are now panda and reverse panda options for the Zenith Chronomaster Original in the mix. To be clear, there are both panda and reverse panda versions of the Chronomaster Original, but not in the tricolor configuration. The tricolor refers to the grey, black and blue chronograph subdials, which are a close match to what Zenith used in the 1969 release.

Zenith Chronomaster
Zenith Chronomaster

As far as we know, there was never a black dial A386 tricolor and it is certainly a first for the Chronomaster Original collection. If you, like us, also think this watch already exists, then you are thinking of the Zenith Chronomaster Open, which does have a black tricolor variant. The 38mm size is just right for this chronograph though, as we recently discovered at the brand’s presentation of a selection of novelties and variants. Maybe it is the pump-style pushers (these do not do so well on the upsized case) or the fact that the proportions of the automatic El Primero 3600 (1/10thof a second chronograph with column wheel and horizontal clutch, with unusual coupling mechanism to the escape wheel) work best in a 38mm case that make the Chronomaster Original superior. Well, that awkwardly-phrased mouthful of facts aside, this is all a matter of opinion and wrist size. Pricewise though, the Original propositions are US $14,000 (the calfskin versions) so that is a plus point to consider. 

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