November 29, 2021

Zenith: Chronomaster Revival A3817

When the El Primero calibre made its debut in 1969, Zenith chose to house it in two watch categories. On one hand, there were sportier models in tonneau-shaped steel cases, such as the A384, and on the other, more classical round cases in steel or gold, most notably the A386

ZenithChronomaster Revival A384 & A386
A384 & A386 “Revival Edition”

Released in 1971, the A3817 was the exception to the rule. It combined the sportier steel tonneau-shaped case of the earliest steel El Primero references with the striking tri-colour dial of the A386. Given that only 1000 of the A3817 were ever produced, it remains one of the most distinguished, elusive and sought-after references among the early El Primero watches.

Zenith Chronomaster A3817
1971 Original A3817 | Source HODINKEE

The Chronomaster Revival A3817 is crafted in the same 37mm angled tonneau-shaped case with pump-style pushers as the original, using historical blueprints and reverse-engineering to preserve the original proportions and finishes. Zenith waited two years after the launch of the El Primero in 1969 before introducing the iconic tri-colour dial to its sportier tonneau case, albeit with a slightly different execution in both function and aesthetic when compared to the A386. Like its progenitor of 1971, the Chronomaster Revival A3817features a white lacquered dial with chronograph counters done in the tones of grey and blue, with the running seconds counter at 9 o’clock done with blue markers, indicated by the single blue hand on the dial. The outer tachymeter scale also serves as a pulsometer, an especially handy and precise function provided by the high-frequency 5Hz (36’000 VpH) escapement of the El Primero movement. The seconds track is done in a pyramid pattern affectionately nicknamed the “shark tooth” scale, which enhances legibility with a distinctly retro touch.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival A3817

Through the open display case back, one of the few differences between the original A3817 with a solid steel case back and the Revival model, one can admire the legendary El Primero high-frequency automatic chronograph calibre that has remained a staple among chronograph movements for over 50 years.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival A3817

Completing the retro look and feel of the Chronomaster Revival A3817two strap options are proposed: the first is the steel “ladder” bracelet, a modern remake of the Gay Frères bracelets that became emblematic of the early El Primero watches; and the other is a light brown calf leather strap that will develop a patina unique to each wearer.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival A3817

The Chronomaster Revival A3817 is exclusively available at Zenith Boutiques as well as its online shop from May 2021 at the price of € 8.300.