El Primero Lightweight
A sporty avant-garde version of the legendary El Primero chronograph
The Watch Quote™ - November 5th, 2014
The Sports Watch Prize was awarded to Zenith Lightweight.
Zenith looks resolutely to the future in developing this sporty avant-garde version of its legendary El Primero chronograph. The keynote of the specifications was the focus on shearing off any excess weight, along with ensuring performance and originality. These demands naturally called for the use of high-tech materials.
Known for their ability to combine technological innovation with creative daring, the engineers and watchmakers of the Manufacture were entrusted with the mission of developing a light watch with a sporty design, while making no compromises on precision, sturdiness and reliability – just as one optimises an engine intended for competition. The sizeable feat began with the movement. Drawing upon its latest research on new materials, Zenith selected titanium – a light and sturdy material widely used in aeronautics – to build the movement bridges.
The Manufacture also opted to use silicon, with the lever and escapewheel made from this high-tech, anti-magnetic material that is three and a half times lighter than classic alloys, harder than steel and a guarantee of excellent efficiency. The carbon and aluminium case with titanium pushpieces and crown reveal the extreme nature of this ultra-sporty chronograph.
Zenith focuses on lightness, daring and innovation in an avant-garde version of its El Primero lightweight chronograph featuring high-tech materials. This El Primero lightweight chronograph combines a titanium and silicon movement with an ultra-sporty carbon case. It marks the dawn of a new era in the extremely rich history of the El Primero calibre.
The new El Primero Lightweight is distinguished by its carbon case featuring an original and complex construction. It combines flowing dynamics and lightness while displaying exceptional power, very much like the most appealing automotive bodywork. Its sapphire crystal reveals the exceptional ‘engine’ inside: El Primero Calibre 400B Titanium, roaring at a speed of 36,000 vibrations per hour. Based on its latest research in the domain of new materials, Zenith chose titanium – a light and highly resistant metal widely used in aeronautics – to make the main parts of the movements which are the heaviest when they are made in brass: namely the mainplate and five bridges (barrel bridge, balance bridge, lever-bridge, lever-wheel bridge and chronograph bridge). The result is a 25% lighter weight. The openworked dial provides another bird’s eye view of this legendary movement, a dynamic reinterpretation of the collection’s classic design characteristics. The transparency of the central part makes it even lighter and provides a clear view of the skeleton-worked El Primero calibre. The disc-type date display is also both light and efficient thanks to cut-out stencil-style numerals standing out against a red dot at 6 o’clock. The generously hollowed-out facetted hour-markers bear a luminescent coating, while the light grey, blue and anthracite counters pick up the three emblematic colours of the 1969 El Primero chronograph that have become one of the collection’s key signature features. The blue central sweep-seconds chronograph hand with its small Zenith star is accurate to the nearest tenth of a second.
Sporty, contemporary and decidedly masculine, the new El Primero Lightweight gives a new breath of life to the Zenith collection, while confirming the innovative capacities andcreative daring of the Manufacture.
The designers of the Manufacture Zenith are keenly aware that the devil is in the details. Attentive to the slightest line, to the feel of the materials, to the functionality of each element, they have redesigned the El Primero lightweight chronograph by focusing firmly on dynamism and performance.
The choice of carbon reinforces the technical and sporty look. The internal structure of the case is in ceramised aluminium, a cutting-edge material blending lightness, resistance and hardness. Titanium was chosen for the pushpieces and the crown.