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Four Zenith Watches With Stellar High-frequency Movements

6 min read November 05, 2022

Zenith DEFY 21 frequency of 360,000 vph A high-frequency revolution

It is perfectly okay to be fond of the watch on your wrist. But to that watch comes the aspect of the sweet science behind it which you should know about; the frequency of the watch, how precise your watch is in measuring time, the rate stability alongside other nuances. Today, we focus on the frequency of watches, and what better way to do that than to talk about timepieces that exemplify that.

But before we list these watches, let's gain a little bit of knowledge on what frequency in watchmaking means. The number of oscillations the regulating organ of a watch performs over time accounts for its frequency. It has two major units by which it can be represented by; In Hertz or in the vibrations per hour. For the sake of this article, our focus will be on the latter.

Zenith El Primero  21mm Black Pilot Rivet Lug Watch Strap from Strapcode watch bands

Zenith El Primero dressed in a 21mm Black Pilot Rivet Lug Watch Strap

You get a watch to vibrate when the balance moves in a single direction - a tick. With watches in this article, our focus is on a number of stellar ones that fall in the bracket of the 36,000 VPH Movement. Five oscillations per second equal 10 vibrations per beat in the same amount of time. You get 3,600 seconds in an hour, so multiply ten vibrations/beats by 3,600 seconds, and you have 36,000vph/bph.

Certain brands are known for their signature features in the watchmaking industry but oftentimes with Zenith, we place them in the league of pioneers. And what better way to be a pioneer than to be the one that ushered in the final frontier in escapement technology? Zenith released the El Primero Caliber in 1969 with a frequency of 5 Hz (36,000 vph), and till today, that movement is still in use and being produced. This article's focus is to look at a number of watches that are mainstays in this movement, so let's get right into it.

The First Zenith El Primero Caliber in 1969 with a frequency of 5 Hz (36,000 vph)

The First Zenith El Primero Caliber in 1969 with a frequency of 5 Hz (36,000 vph)

1. The Zenith Defy El Primero 21

The Zenith Defy line, the collection from which the El Primero 21 has its roots, was released in 1969, faded away soon after but was fortunate enough to make a comeback in 2017. And while it did get a facelift in 2017, watch collectors did0 notice that this wasn't the ideal look of a Zenith Watch.

Rather, it has the look of the best of both worlds - TAG Heuer and Hublot. In all fairness to their claims, the DEFY watches from the 70s didn't look this way. But one cue it does take from the watches of the 70s is in its execution - flawless.

The DEFY El Primero 21 has a very sophisticated look, and unlike the Elite collections of Zenith, it isn't all that sporty in appearance. It comes in a 44m titanium case and is water resistant to 100 meters.

Zenith DEFY El Primero 21 has a frequency of 360,000 vph

Zenith DEFY El Primero 21 has a very sophisticated look and its balance wheel beats at a frequency of 360,000 vph

The watch also plays host to a central chronograph hand that makes a turn every second (1/100th of a second) and 30-minute Chrono counters and 60-second Chrono counters at the 3 o'clock mark and 6'o clock marks, respectively.

Behind the watch is a sapphire display case back that shows the automatic movement powering this watch. The calibre El Primero 9004 is that movement and has close to 300 parts with two independent balance wheels attached to it- one for timekeeping and one for the Chronograph. The latter beats at a frequency of 360,000 vph (No, I am not kidding!) and the former at a frequency of 36,000 vph. The El Primero 21 is priced at USD 13,500.

2. The Zenith El Primero 36,000 VPH Black

The name itself gives away its frequency but a closer look at the watch reveals a comfortable timepiece equipped with a "hi-beat" mechanical chronograph to fit. Its aluminum case is coated in ceramic and measures 42mm with a 12.75mm thickness.

Suede watch band added to the Zenith El Primero 36,000 VPH Black by Strapcode

A Black Suede watch band added a touch of chic charm to the Zenith El Primero 36,000 VPH Black

 21mm Quick Release Nubuck Leather Watch Strap by Strapcode watch bands

Or a Camel Brown 21mm Quick Release Nubuck Leather Watch Strap also astounding the watch

Its matte black color is the watch being sporty but at the same time, the sapphire crystal gives it a vintage look also- a beautiful balance. This El Primero is mounted on a perforated black strap and if you share the sentiments of a few who aren't fans of this strap, we offer you a number of replacement options here at STRAPCODE. If you want a shiny alligator strap or just a plain and simple strap to bring more details to the watch, we got you.

A combo of Zenith and Navy Blue FKM Rubber watch strap by Strapcode

A comely combo of Zenith and Navy Blue FKM Rubber watch strap, added some fresh tone

21mm Grey watch band with Quick Release for Zenith watch, by Strapcode watch bands

21mm Grey watch band with Quick Release allows you to quickly add to your Zenith watch anytime, anywhere

We are fans of the Zenith logo embossed on the clasp and the date window located at 6 o'clock is one of the most attractive date windows you will find out there on any sporty watch. The Zenith El Primero 36,000 vph has a white counterpart and they are both priced at USD 8,600.

21mm Camo Pattern Italian Leather watch strap with Quick-release by Strapcode watch bands

One-of-a-kind Forest Camo Pattern Italian Leather watch strap with Quick-release, you can find from Strapcode's Italian handmade collection

Zenith and Distressed Leather Watch Strap with extra soft in touch by Strapcode watch bands

Zenith is well-favored by a down to earth Brown Distressed Leather Watch Strap with extra soft in touch

3. The Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Zenith, they rolled out this instant classic in two forms; rose gold and stainless steel. In terms of its size, it's in the league of the likes of the Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Moonwatch,' but its large (but very clean) dial gives it the edge. Talking about the dial, this sports watch's dial is very clean (one of the cleanest around) and doesn't have (require) a date window.

Flipping it over to the case back, you get to see its El Primero 4609 caliber that powers it. This caliber comprises 254 parts, is neatly decorated, and is easy to see and observe through the see-through sapphire crystal. We are fans of the black alligator strap it comes in, and the Zenith logo embossed on the clasp is a thing of beauty.

Zenith El Primero Rose Gold Calibre 4069 of the 150th anniversary

Zenith El Primero Rose Gold Calibre 4069 of the 150th anniversary

The Rose gold version of this classic is limited, with only 150 pieces released - in line with their 150th anniversary. However, the stainless steel version is non-limited and goes at USD 8,900, with the rose gold variant going for almost three times the price at USD 21,600, understandably so. This automatic chronograph of a watch comes with a power reserve that exceeds 50 hours despite its 36,000 vph. The finish of its movement (adorned with traditional Geneva stripes and anglage) is as clean as its dial.

4. The Zenith El Primero 410

This watch with a column wheel for its chronograph was one of the flagship automatic chronograph watches released by Zenith in 1969. Zenith succeeded in a field where many brands failed as others couldn't cope with a watch that isn't only a fast ticker but very accurate with its 36000 vibrations per hour frequency seeing to that high level of accuracy.

 

Zenith El Primero 410 (reference 03.2091.410/01.C494)

Zenith El Primero 410 (reference 03.2091.410/01.C494)

The Zenith El Primero 410 caliber consists of no less than 390 components

The Zenith El Primero 410 caliber consists of no less than 390
components

But Zenith has succeeded with the caliber of this watch, having nothing less than 390 components. Like the elite chronograph classic, there is also a nice alligator watch strap on this timepiece with a fine rubber lining on the inside, while a nice folding watch clasp complements it. It is priced at CHF 9800 Swiss Francs and if you want to know more about this watch and others in the El Primero (Spanish for "The first) movement, kindly visit the official Zenith Website here.

External References

 


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