Luxury Swiss watch manufacture Zenith has created a special edition Zenith El Primero timepiece in partnership with HODINKEE, the premier online resource for watch enthusiasts.
Created for HODINKEE and available only via the site’s online boutique, this 25-piece limited edition is inspired by a 1960s Zenith chronograph. It features a retro look, a slate gray dial, a 38 mm-diameter steel case and a column-wheel El Primero movement chronometer-certified by the COSC. Several traits found in the HODINKEE Limited Edition El Primero appear exclusively on this timepiece and nowhere else in the Zenith collection.
Founded in New York in 2008 by journalist and collector Benjamin Clymer, the HODINKEE is designed for devotees of vintage and modern watches and sells watch accessories, a curated selection of vintage watches, and select limited-edition modern watches.
The special edition offered by Zenith on the HODINKEE Shop is inspired by a 1960s Zenith chronograph, much beloved by the HODINKEE team. The original was equipped with the Caliber 146D oscillating at a rate of 18,000 vibrations/hour, ensuring a 38-hour power reserve and driving displays of the hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock. It also included a chronograph function with central sweep-seconds hand and 45-minute counter at 3 o’clock, as well as a tachymetric scale.
The water-resistant double-pusher steel case with screw-down caseback framed a dial with silver-toned baton hands. The model also displayed the distinctive graduated scale on the minutes counter, which highlighted the 3, 6 and 9 numerals corresponding to the minutes charged for telephone conversations at the time. Many of these features are to be found in in today’s watch, but with tweaks for modern living.
Directly inspired by this vintage timepiece, the El Primero Limited Edition For HODINKEE model offers a set of almost identical functions. They are displayed on an elegant slate gray dial, enhanced by a domed sapphire crystal and swept over by a slender central sweep-seconds hand as well as rhodium faceted hands and hour-markers. The key difference lies in the fact that this exclusive edition beats at the lively rhythm of 36,000 vibrations per hour dictated by the automatic El Primero Caliber 4069.
Chronometer-certified by the COSC, this 254-part column-wheel chronograph, wound by an oscillating weight adorned with “Côtes de Genève”, drives an extremely accurate tenth-of-a-second display and has an over 50-hour power reserve. Its high-frequency mechanism is housed in a 38 mm-diameter steel case that is water-resistant to 50 meters and features a fluted crown as well as two round pushers.
The caseback is engraved with the inscription “Limited Edition xx/25 for HODINKEE”. The final touch is set by strap with three included options: a rubber-lined black alligator strap, HODINKEE Black Racing strap, or HODINKEE Blue Shell Cordovan strap, secured with a steel pin buckle.
Only 25 of these watches will be made and they are available exclusively at shop.HODINKEE.com for $7,900. Shipping is available world-wide with immediate delivery.
In creating this Zenith timepiece, Ben Clymer and his team at HODINKEE worked in close cooperation with the designers and watchmakers of the Zenith Manufacture in selecting a handful of traits liable to appeal to purist timepiece collectors. These include a 38mm vintage-style case (whereas most El Primero are found in 42mm or above); a two-register dial without a date window, a configuration typical of 1960s chronographs; and a specially created COSC-certified movement reference regulated and adjusted to meet chronometer standards.
In the course of only eight years, HODINKEE has established itself as the preeminent resource for modern and vintage wristwatch enthusiasts. Founder and Executive Editor Benjamin Clymer and his team of writers are known for their innate understanding of both historical references and the most cutting-edge haute horlogerie, and more importantly, can explain them in a way that is both entertaining and easy to understand. With a focus on creative content, HODINKEE was named by Time Magazine as one of the 50 Best Websites in the world, while Clymer is an active member of the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve four years running and was declared “The High Priest Of Horology” by the New York Times.
Model: Zenith El Primero Hodinkee Edition
Limited Edition of 25 units
El Primero 4069, Automatic
Calibre 13¼“` (Diameter: 30 mm)
Movement thickness: 6.60 mm
Frequency: 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)
Power-reserve: min. 50 hours
Finishes: Oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” motif
Hours and minutes in the centre
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
> Central chronograph hand
> 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
Units per hour scale on the flange
Diameter: 38 mm
Diameter opening: 33.10 mm
Thickness: 12.45 mm
Crystal: Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides
Case-back: Transparent sapphire crystal
Material: Stainless steel
Water-resistance: 5 ATM
Slate grey sunray dial
Hour-markers: Rhodium-plated & faceted
Hands: Rhodium-plated & faceted
Black alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining
Stainless steel pin buckle