Zenith - The Geneva Watch Auction: XI Geneva Sunday, June 28, 2020 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Zenith
    Year: Circa 1971
    Reference No: A3817
    Case No: 904D926
    Model Name: El Primero
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3019, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Gay Frères bracelet, end links stamped ZKM, max length 200mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel deployant clasp stamped 3.71
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1969 Zenith announced the creation of what would become one of the most celebrated automatic movements of modern watchmaking, the “El Primero”. Directly translating from “The first one”, this high beat movement is known today as the very first automatic integrated chronograph movements ever created.

    Instantaneously recognizable as a Zenith El Primero thanks to its tri-colour subdials, this modern and colourful sports watch reference A3817 is, according to research, far rarer than its sister reference A386 as only 1’000 pieces are believed to have been produced.

    Reference A3817’s dial also differs from its sister reference A386 by a more colourful dial scheme. While the colour of the three subdials are light and dark grey as well as blue, the subdial at 9 o’clock is enhanced by a unique blue hand and blue indexes subtly contrasting with the light grey background.

    The case construction fully reflects the taste of the time, oriented on highly sculpted and angular designs. Such construction can only be fully appreciated if unpolished like the present piece, allowing the beholder to admire every edge and facet in its original glory.

    Fitted with its original styled Gay Frères ladder bracelet stamped for the third quarter of 1971, this watch ticks all the boxes of a highly collectible timepiece.

  • 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. A3817
An extremely attractive and rare stainless steel automatic chronograph wristwatch with date and tri-color registers

Circa 1971
37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

CHF8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for CHF40,000

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East

41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: XI

Geneva Auction 27 - 28 June 2020