Zenith Chronomaster Revival A385

Swiss luxury watch brand Zenith is bringing back one of the earliest and most emblematic El Primero-equipped chronographs from the earliest days of the revolutionary calibre in the form of a Chronomaster Revival model.

In 1969, Zenith unveiled El Primero, the world’s first automatic high-frequency chronograph. It made its debut in three distinct stainless steel models. Among them was the A385, a tonneau-shaped steel chronograph with an eye-catching brown gradient dial, which was the first “smoked” dial ever to be made in the watch industry and for Zenith.

In fact, the A385 made headlines back in 1970, when it took part in Zenith’s “Operation Sky”. This extreme test consisted of strapping the watch to an Air France Boeing 707’s landing gear on a flight from Paris to New York to test its resistance to external aggressions such as drastic temperature fluctuations, wind force and changing air pressure. Upon landing, the watch was still functioning perfectly.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival A385

The Chronomaster Revival A385 is an actual reproduction of the original model from 1969 in an exercise of “reverse engineering” by the Manufacture. Using the original blueprints and production plans, each part of the A385’s 37mm tonneau-shaped stainless steel case, including the pump-style pushers, is faithful to the original 1969 model. The only differences are the domed sapphire crystal instead of an acrylic glass and the display back instead of the closed solid steel case back, offering an unobstructed view of the El Primero 400 chronograph movement.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival A385

What made the A385 truly stand was its smoked brown gradient dial with a vignette effect that blackens towards the edges and provides a striking sense of visual depth, as if the dial was domed. For this Chronomaster Revival piece, Zenith sought to recreate the same warm tones and gradient effect, almost indistinguishable from the original with its red chronograph central second hand and silvery-white chronograph counters.

Keeping with the retro theme, the Chronomaster Revival A385 is available in two options that could have come straight from 1969: The first is the steel “ladder” bracelet, a modern remake of the Gay Frères bracelets that became emblematic of the early El Primero watches. The second option is a light brown calf leather strap that will develop a unique patina with wear and time.

The Chronomaster A385 is available at Zenith Boutiques and online shop, as well as at authorized retailers around the world.

Technical details

Model: CHRONOMASTER REVIVAL A385
Reference: 03.A384.400/385.C855

Zenith Chronomaster Revival A385

Movement
El Primero 400 Automatic
Automatic El Primero column-wheel chronograph movement
Frequency: 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)
Power-reserve.: min. 50 hours

Functions
Hours and minutes in the centre
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
Chronograph: Central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
Tachymetric scale
Date indication at 4:30

Case
Material: Stainless steel
37 mm diameter
Water-resistance: 5 ATM

Dial
Smoked brown gradient dial with white-coloured counters
Hour-markers: Rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with beige Super-LumiNova®SLN
Hands: Rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with beige Super-LumiNova®SLN

Bracelet
Light brown calf leather strap with protective rubber lining and a stainless steel pin buckle

Price
7900 CHF

Model: CHRONOMASTER REVIVAL A385
Reference: 03.A384.400/385.M385

Zenith Chronomaster Revival A385

Movement
El Primero 400 Automatic
Automatic El Primero column-wheel chronograph movement
Frequency: 36,000 VpH (5 Hz)
Power-reserve.: min. 50 hours

Functions
Hours and minutes in the centre
Small seconds at 9 o’clock
Chronograph: Central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock
Tachymetric scale
Date indication at 4:30

Case
Material: Stainless steel
37 mm diameter
Water-resistance: 5 ATM

Dial
Smoked brown gradient dial with white-coloured counters
Hour-markers: Rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with beige Super-LumiNova®SLN
Hands: Rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with beige Super-LumiNova®SLN

Bracelet
“Ladder” bracelet with stainless steel double folding clasp

Price
8400 CHF