Zenith - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: EIGHT Hong Kong Monday, May 27, 2019 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Zenith
    Year: Circa 1960
    Case No: M.M.: 202'606
    Model Name: Cronometro Tipo CP-2, "Cairelli"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 146DP, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Alligator
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel pin buckle
    Dimensions: 43mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed by maker, dial further signed by retailer

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Cairelli Zenith chronograph is one of the most sublime and aesthetically pleasing tool watches of the mid-20th century. The oversized case at 43mm diameter makes it today a very wearable timepiece, highly in tune with modern aesthetic canons, while at the time indisputably classified it as a tool watch, little suited for daily wear.

    Being a military watch, the main requisites were accuracy, reliability and readability, this latter achieved thanks to the large, black, luminous dial design. Roman retailer Cairelli had been supplying watches to the Italian Armed Forces since the 1950s, using Universal timepieces with Martel Watch Company movements. Martell was however acquired by Zenith in 1959 and, in order to keep consistency, the Italian Army switched to Zenith. Initially, the watches were intended for both the Italian Air Force and marked “AMI” or the Navy and marked “MM”. Ultimately the contract was cancelled and watches not sold to the military were then retailed to civilian customers (these watches do not bear military marking). It is believed that 2500 examples of the CP-2 (Cronometro da polso - wrist chronometer) were manufactured.

  • 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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A fine and rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with luminous black dial and revolving bezel, retailed by Cairelli and made for the Italian army

Circa 1960
43mm Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed by maker, dial further signed by retailer

HK$78,000 - 120,000 

Sold for HK$75,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2001

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: EIGHT

Hong Kong Auction 28 May 2019