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.
One of the worlds very first automatic chronographs. This 18ct yellow Gold Zenith El Primero is from the very earliest days of production, 1969, this G581 was one of only 250 pieces produced and has been especially well cared for over the years, coming to us in superb condition. The classic 'Panda' dial with flowing El Primero signature has aged beautifully whilst the case remains strong with no signs of excessive polishing or wear. Prior to 1969 all production chronographs had been manually wound, when the Cal. 11 and ref. 6139 were released alongside Zenith's flagship calibre, widely recognised as one of the finest production chronograph movements ever made, that would go on to find further fame powering Rolex's Daytona up to 30 years later. A true slice of Horological history.