If you mention the recent big event in the watch industry, it is “the 50th anniversary of the Zenith El Primero movement “. In 1969, 50 years ago, it will always be the testimony to the first step of human beings on the moon. For the watchmaking world, this year marks the beginning of a legend: Zenith released the first automatic chronograph movement for the public – El Primero (In Spanish, it means “first”), which is still considered to be a legend in the history of watchmaking even after more than half a century. Since its birth, in addition to Zenith, including Rolex, Hublot, Panerai, Daniel Roth (independent watch brand, now belongs to Bulgari), Ebel, etc., have used this unparalleled movement.
The movement vibrates 36,000 times per hour and is the world’s leading chronograph movement in precision. It is featured with a power reserve of up to 50 hours, outstanding performance and high vibration frequency echo each other. In addition, the design of the El Primero movement is also remarkably impressive, as an ingenious miniature mechanical masterpiece, with a thickness of only 6.5 mm and a diameter of 29.33 mm.Of course, this data does not allow us to intuitively understand its incredible preeminence. So as early as 1970, in order to prove and demonstrate the unbelievable excellence of El Primero movement, Zenith carried out an extra difficult test – fixed on the landing gear of Boeing 707 passenger aircraft. When the El Primero movement is landed on the Paris airport apron with the aircraft, the outdoor temperature is only 4℃. After 20 minutes, the aircraft climbed to an altitude of 10,000 meters, and the temperature dropped to 62℃, and the atmospheric pressure was only 1/4 of the ground. While landing in New York, experiencing violent shaking and violent jolts, Zenith El Primero not only maintains ultimate-high precision at the level of seconds but also maintains 36,000 vibrations per hour of regular vibration, needing no adjustment.
Since then, Zenith El Primero has become a symbol of “accuracy” in people’s minds. 42 years later, in Red Bull Stratos, 2012, Felix Baumgartner(Ultimate skydiving master, has set a number of world records of extreme skydiving) broken through the sound barrier in a free-falling manner with wearing the El Primero flyback timing 1/10 hop-second watch of Zenith. From the edge of space to the ground, after experiencing different pressures, heights, temperatures, and accelerations, it’s exceedingly amazing that the watch still keeps moving precisely.
The Zenith El Primero caliber is able to maintain precise time traveling while undergoing a variety of different extreme challenges. The El Primero movement of Zenith that has experienced many exceptional hardships and tribulations is definitely a legend that other movements can never match and compare.