36’000 VpH: even after 48 years this is still what sets the Zenith El Primero apart from nearly any other chronograph. For many collectors, the El Primero movement alone was reason enough to purchase a Zenith, but fortunately, that didn’t stop the brand from continuing to innovate with its design as well. This year Zenith expanded the El Primero 36’000 VpH collection with two new models.
Unique about these two new additions to the collection is the case. They are made from aluminum yet with a ceramic coating. This combines the light weight of the aluminum with the scratch resistance of the ceramic coating. In everyday life, the best of both worlds. Combine this with the 42mm case, comfortable rubber strap and a water resistance up to 100 meters, and you just know that you have a great all-rounder around the wrist. Even the thickness of 12.75 mm is modest enough to be tucked under a shirt, although a leather jacket seems to be more appropriate for these two new El Primero 36’000 VpH’s.
Thanks to the ceramic the case has a matt, black look. Zenith’s designers truly used this to their advantage by creating two “black & white” dials, one the inverted version of the other. They found a very nice balance in the design, making it captivating without sacrificing legibility. Even the date function has found an organic place on the dial, becoming an integrated part of the design. This continues on the back of the 36’000 VpH, where Zenith put a minimum of distraction so that the El Primero movement becomes rightfully so the center of attention. Caliber 400B runs of course at 36’000 VpH, allowing for recording time intervals up to 1/10th of a second. Even those people who do not need such a precise measurement of elapsed time will truly appreciate the smooth running chronograph hand as is the result of the movements high frequency. Despite this, Zenith has still been able to give the El Primero 36’000 VpH a power reserve of more than 50 hours. Perhaps lies there also the real strength of this watch, as you do not have to compromise on either style or technology.