The 50th Anniversary celebrations for Zenith’s legendary El Primero chronograph end on high note at Geneva Watch Auction X, on 10 November 2019, raising a record USD 250’650, CHF 250’000, EUR 196’125 benefiting Zoé4life, part of the Childhood Cancer International network.
The first and only Zenith A386 reference to be made of platinum, this unique El Primero was designed by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Zenith’s history-making timepiece. The proceeds went to benefit Zoe4Life, a Swiss non-profit that is part of the Childhood Cancer International network.
The event crowns the Zenith El Primero 50th Anniversary celebrations throughout 2019, which included a World Tour across 5 continents – culminating in a gala show on the eve of the auction – to celebrate the first automatic integrated chronograph in watchmaking history introduced by Zenith in 1969.
The gala event held on the eve of the auction at Geneva’s fabled La Réserve resort on 8 November presented the perfect occasion for setting the stage. The select circle of around 300 guests, great collectors, friends and journalists were invited on a fascinating tour of the year 1969 moderated by none other than Nick Foulkes, author and horological connoisseur of taste extraordinaire. Julien Tornare, CEO of Zenith, peppered his account of the extraordinary journey behind the making of the El Primero legend with memorable anecdotes. If the show performed by Romain the Illusionist had everybody spellbound in their seats, the standing ovation for the makers of the El Primero made for a truly magical experience as well.
An especially touching moment: Charles Vermot, the man without whose engineering genius and determination there would be no El Primero, was represented by his son Michel who graciously accepted the applause.
It was the perfect lead-in for the pièce de resistance: the unveiling of the one-off 50th Anniversary El Primero in platinum by Zenith CEO Julien Tornare and Aurel Bacs, Senior Consultant of Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo, auctioned at The Geneva Watch Auction X. Met with the same applause moments later was this announcement by Julien Tornare: the proceeds of the winning bid at the auction would go to Zoe4Life, a Swiss non-profit that is part of the Childhood Cancer International network.
Amid the cheers came the encore: Aurel Bacs took center stage to present two Zenith El Primero limited editions designed by Phillips, one in yellow gold limited to 20 pieces, the other in stainless steel kept at 49 pieces. Together, the production runs of these two exclusive watches created for the renowned auction house rarities in creations add up to 69 pieces, in reference to 1969, the year the legend was born.
Designed by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo in collaboration with Zenith — a first for the auctioneer — this one-off creation celebrates the invention 50 years ago of the Zenith El Primero, the first ever automatic integrated chronograph – with a surprising take on the iconic reference A386. Exceptionally for this one-off creation, and for the first time for an El Primero, the watch is made in PT 950 platinum.
The unique and precious dial with a vintage touch is crafted from lapis lazuli, a vividly blue stone with flecks of gold. The strap is made from calfskin for elegant simplicity. As a testament to its time-tested robustness and reliability, it comes with a special 50-year international warranty. The final result is a visually captivating timepiece that is sure to please connoisseurs, enthusiasts and collectors.
Zoé4life is a registered non-profit organization, recognized as a public service utility whose mission is to support research, provide financial support to families in need, support kids during their treatments and raise awareness about childhood cancer. All donations are tax deductible.