Zenith - START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs Geneva Friday, May 13, 2016 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Manufacturer: Zenith
    Year: 1971
    Reference No: A3818
    Case No: 233E219
    Model Name: El Primero
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3019, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Gay Frères, 200mm maximum overall length approx.
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel signed Zenith and stamped 72.2
    Dimensions: 37mm width
    Signed: Case, dial movement and bracelet signed
    Literature: A similar example of reference 3818 featuring the blue tachometer/pulsation dial is prominently illustrated on the cover and pg. 247 of Zenith Swiss Watch Manufacture Since 1865, Manfred Rössler.

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1969 Zenith first debuted their ‘El Primero’ line as the firm’s first chronograph featuring an automatic movement. Unfortunately, in 1975 Zenith Radio decided to not only stop production, but also destroy the machinery necessary to manufacture the model. This decision was a direct result of the Quartz movement, which led watch manufacturers at the time to believe that mechanical watches were becoming obsolete. But in fact, they were wrong.

    Charles Vermont, a specialist who developed this caliber, hid the equipment required to make these watches and recorded the instructions to construct the design in a personal notebook. After years of being forgotten about, in 1984 the saved tools were put back to work and the production of the ‘El Primero’ resumed. This superb pre-1975 example of reference A3818 features an automatic caliber 3019 movement, which will surely impress any connoisseur.

    The distinctive blue colored dial interestingly features both a tachometer and pulsometer scale on the outer edge of the dial. This rare classic retains its original characteristics in overall excellent condition, and is a tool that can be useful not only to racing fanatics, but also to doctors alike. The watch’s versatility and comfortable wearability will elevate any outfit for a day at the racetrack, or a day at the office.

  • Artist Biography


    Swiss • 1865

    Since Zenith's beginnings, founder George Favre-Jacot sought to manufacture precision timepieces, realizing quality control was best maintained when production was housed under one roof. Zenith remains one of the few Swiss manufacturers to produce their own in-house movements to this day.

    Today, the brand is best known for the "El Primero," the firm's most successful automatic chronograph movement. In an interesting twist of fate, the company that owned Zenith during the 1970s decided to move on to quartz movements and therefore sought to destroy the parts and tools necessary to make mechanical movements. One watchmaker realized this folly and hid the tools and parts before they were destroyed. In 1984, he returned them to Zenith so they could once again make the El Primero movement.

    View More Works


Ref. A3818
A very rare and highly attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with date aperture, blue colored dial, bracelet, tachometer and pulsometer scales.

37mm width
Case, dial movement and bracelet signed

CHF6,000 - 12,000 

Sold for CHF13,750

Contact Specialist
Livia Russo
+41 22 317 81 86

START-STOP-RESET: 88 Epic Stainless Steel Chronographs

Geneva Auction 14 May 2016