Test Bench

Zenith Grand Chronomaster Open XXT

The Watch Quote™ - November 20th, 2004

Like you (to judge by the votes cast for our Top 100) the team at The Watch Quote™ find Zenith’s new Grand Chronomaster Open XXT irresistable. That’s why we chose to give the beauty a try in our Test bench, so you can get to know it better.

Zenith Grand Master Open XXT under the magnifying glass.

The first issue of the brand new Zenith collection crated by Thierry Nataf (president of the famous Manufacture), “Open” models have been on sale for several months. Zenith France has been kind enough to entrust us with a Grand Master Open XXT so we can examine its every detail.

On the wrist

“What a beautiful watch!” a French ex-Minister of culture might have exclaimed. The first impressions are pretty flattering. On the wrist, it gives an immediate feeling of fulfillment. The large case, designed to be both sober and up to date, is there to make you forget yourself right away, with its splendid dial, so beautifully conceived the eye never tires of looking at it.

A work of art, with reflections that play from black to deep pearl blue depending on the lighting. A real dance floor on which the turning hands give a unique performance to the sheer pleasure of mechanism lovers… The “Open” dial gives pride of place to the movement that beats at a rhythm of 36,000 alternations per hour. From the first, the time-piece on your wrist a time-piece won’t leave you cold, everything it says to you is constantly shifting. Some love to contemplate the Breton countryside’s ever-changing form and colours for hours; others take the same pleasure in their watch. This one is just what they’ve been looking for!

Quality of construction

Zenith has always been among the jewels of Swiss watch-making and the 2004/2005 collection brings the manufacturer even closer to perfection. That’s why it’s worth repeating, Zenith is still one of best value for money brands on the luxury the watch market. The market is increasingly beset by brands that claim a quality of manufacture and level of mechanical sophistication they don’t always live up to. At Zenith, the philosophy of Thierry Nataf is entirely the reverse.


The Locle engineers couldn’t have chosen a better mechanism for manufacturing their new frontrunner than the house’s legendary El Primero. At Zenith, as elsewhere, you don’t change a winning team. As a result, we get to enjoy the pleasure of admiring, for the first time, both sides of a new version of the new El Primero 4021 caliber, itself a version of Zenith’s most famous watch movement, created in 1969, and unanimously declared “best movement in the world” for its high performance and reliability.


“Short time” chronography, up to 30 minutes in tenths of a second. Second hand at the centre and minute counter at 3 o’clock set off by the button at 2 o’clock, set back to zero at 4 o’clock. Easy to hold, clear, precise passages, good legibility of times metered.

Over 50-hours power reserve with indicator at 6 o’clock (power reserve hand in yellow gold to distinguish it from the steel hour hands.)

Above all, the Grand Chronomaster Open XXT timepiece is built to a successful avant-garde design, it’s a chronograph for the city that will attract modern businessmen and enthusiasts that appreciate a great mechanism more easily than the accomplished sportsman seeking a highly functional machine that’s legible in any type of weather or conditions. The true vocation of the Chronomaster Open is unfortunately absent from the Zenith catalogue…the Chronomaster Open is 100% pleasure and 100% passion.


We have already talked about the impression a Grand Chronomaster Open XXT makes on its owner.

How about the aspects of “society life” with such a magnificent timepiece? The choice is important, as a watch is the only acceptable jewel for a man of good taste, and confirms his status.

You can’t help but notice the curiosity it provokes among peers. Whether among male fellow followers, or women in general, the open XXT succeeds in making its mark for being classy as much as for questions concerning its dial.

Our chronometer is the ultimate in refinement. The subtle balance between sobriety and design is its principle power of conviction.

We cannot overemphasise, this watch never causes the slightest inconvenience or irritation due to an over-ostentatious brand image. Sheer joy!

The Watch Quote opinion

It’s high time for us to open the bracket entitled “Grievances” and advise all those who think Zenith has put its prices up unreasonably for the past two years to race to the nearest retailer and change their entirely unjustified conclusion. Close brackets.

Strong points:

• Breathtaking style
• A time piece that’s 100% pleasure
• One of the most beautiful dials on the market
• The new caliber “El Primero” 4021
• The quality of manufacture and Zenith reliability
• The Zenith distribution network worldwide
• The certainty that you’re wearing a unanimously acclaimed and exceptional timepiece

Weak points:

• Note date indicator
• Nighttime visibility and legibility
• Power reserve hand obscures legibility for the uninitiated

Price: 7500€

 1     2     3     4     5   

Our verdict: ****

Thierry Castagna / The Watch Quote™
Photos Luc Virginius

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