Zenith - The Geneva Watch Auction: X Geneva Saturday, November 9, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Zenith
    Year: Circa 1969
    Reference No: A386
    Case No: 8'62D'142
    Model Name: El Primero
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3019PHC, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 37.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Bücherer fitted box

  • Catalogue Essay

    This year Zenith is celebrating the 50th anniversary of their iconic automatic chronograph caliber El-Primero. A movement so reliable and well-made that when Rolex decided to introduce the Daytona in an automatic version they turned to the El Primero.

    With the El Primero, meaning "the first" in Spanish, Zenith not only wanted to create a high frequency precision wristwatch, but also sought to advance the state-of-the-art of horology with a fully integrated, automatic chronograph caliber.

    The reference A386 was presented in 1969 and housed this new revolutionary caliber. The case is a masculine 37.5mm in diameter with long angled lugs and an almost non-existent bezel giving greater visibility to the dial. The dial is also in line with the aesthetic freedom of the 60s-70s with its overlapping blue, grey and anthracite subdials. The red chronograph hand bringing a touch of vivid color. This created a modern and colorful new look for sports watches, and a move away from the more subdued aesthetics of the 1940s and 50s.

    From the family of the original owner, the present watch has been sitting in a safe for the past decades. In very well preserved condition, it has most probably never been polished, the case number is perfectly crisp and comes with its original buckle.

    So iconic is the reference A386 that Zenith and Phillips chose this model to jointly design a unique version in platinum with a lapis lazuli dial to celebrate this incredible watch and movements 50th anniversary (see lot 136).

  • 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.

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Ref. A386
A very fine and rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with date and tachymeter scale

Circa 1969
37.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

CHF5,000 - 8,000 

Sold for CHF22,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+ 41 79 637 1724

The Geneva Watch Auction: X

Geneva Auction 9-10 November 2019