Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic Review
Some watches just take your breath away. The Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic that we will Review today is one of those cases. Let’s begin!
The collection holds a few models as of the present. This collection won’t need that many models since each of the ones in this series looks quite perfect just the way they are. To be 100% forthright, it would be hard to pick one absolute favorite so for the sake of keeping it simple, we’ll use model # 18.2270.4069/18.c498.
One of the most noticeable things about this watch is the lovely bronze dial which has a fine grain sunray finish radiating from the center of the dial outwards. The dial has an almost smoked brown finish with a linear color gradation that is darker on the top and bottom of the dial but lighter in the center. It catches the light in a way that gives the watch that shiny watch ad professional photography look everywhere you go.
As if that wasn’t enough to impress me, the 18kt rose gold material used for the case, crown, chronograph pushers, index hour markers, and hands is the perfect complementary tone to bring out the already attractive dial. It’s certainly a looker, and very aesthetically pleasing, yet it remains simple and classic in its design. The steel model of the Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic also has the same gradient dial but the rose gold model tends to compliment the warm tones of the gradient more in my humble opinion. It's more of a personal taste than anything else. To each their own.
One thing I noticed about the hour markers is that it uses a double index for even-numbered hours and a single index hour marker for the odd number hours. I admire a watch that can have a simplistic beauty without having to go overboard on complicated design features and unnecessary bells and whistles.
A 30-minute chronograph counter sub-register and small seconds sub-dial are printed directly on the main dial in a thin sans-serif font. The dial has a white, printed seconds and split-seconds track wrapping around the perimeter. The split-seconds are useful since this is a highly precise chronograph after all.
This should come as no surprise since the Elite Chronograph Classic is powered by none other than the famous El Primero caliber 4069 which based on the Zenith El Primero 400. Other brands have used this base caliber as well including Panerai in their caliber OP IV found in some of their Luminor Chrono watches, and the Panerai OP VI caliber found in the Luminor Chrono Flyback (model # PAM00060). Hublot also uses this base in their HUB 4700 caliber found in many of the Spirit of Big Bang watches, so does TAG Heuer in their Carrera Calibre 36 Flyback watches, and BVLGARI features it as well in their BVL 328 caliber which powers many of their Bulgari Octo Velocissimo watches.
If these watchmakers aren't proof enough that this is an excellent movement, let its prestigious COSC certified Chronometer designation speak volumes for its high accuracy. The Zenith El Primero 4069 movement is an automatic/self-winding mechanical high beat movement that operates at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour or 5Hz. This beautifully finished caliber can be watched in action through the see-through sapphire case back. It contains 31 jewels and has a power reserve of approximately 50 hours.
The 4069 is a 30mm caliber that uses a column-wheel chronograph mechanism that is often preferred over the CAM actuated counterpart since it allows for a smoother starting and stopping action on the rectangular-shaped chronograph buttons. The movement also allows for hours, minutes, and small seconds. The semi-skeletonized weighted rotor that does the automatic self-winding can be seen through the case back and is decorated with the words Zenith El Primero, Manufacture Le Clocle, and has the Zenith iconic star which is filled in black.
The 41mm case has a nice classic size and is only 11.80mm thick and is splendidly polished. The case back is fastened with 4 screws, one in each corner, and has a scratch resistance sapphire crystal on the front and back of the case. While this isn’t the kind of watch you would want to take swimming it does have enough water resistance to do some light poolside swimming.
All in all, this is an easy watch to get infatuated with and it most certainly catches the eye. It is fitted on a deep and rich brown alligator leather strap with matching brown stitching. It fastens to your wrist with an 18kt rose gold push-button deployant buckle. The rose gold clasp has a combination of brushed and polished finishing and has a polished star. It’s a finely made timepiece indeed and will look spectacular on just about any wrist.
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