Zenith - WINNING ICONS – Legendary Watches of the 20th Century New York Thursday, October 26, 2017 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Zenith
    Year: 1969
    Reference No: A386
    Case No: 923D151
    Model Name: El Primero
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3019PHC, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Zenith Gay Frères stainless steel ladder bracelet, end links stamped ZJ, max. length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Zenith stainless steel deployant buckle, stamped 4.71
    Dimensions: 37.5mm diameter
    Accessories: Accompanied by original Zenith presentation boxes, guarantee and hang tag.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Zenith’s El Primero (the first) was one of the first wristwatches to feature an automatic chronograph movement. The manufacturer 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, selfwinding chronograph caliber. Renowned for its quality, the Zenith caliber 3019PHC is a watchmaking icon, and was the basis for Rolex’s first selfwinding chronograph, the Daytona reference 16520 introduced in 1988. With the El Primero, Zenith created a new aesthetic with a dial that featured a combination of colors with subsidiary dials in blue, light grey and anthracite. The hour and minute hands were in white enamel with black tips, while the chronograph hand was in red enamel. 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. The present classic El Primero A386 is exceptional for its remarkable condition and completeness. Well preserved and hardly worn, it is totally original and fitted with its uniquely styled Gay Frères ladder bracelet. Complete with its original box, papers, and hang tag, the case remains unpolished as is evident from the factory finish on the lugs and the crispness of the bevels, edges, and caseback engravings. The movement is signed “Zenith 3019PHC”, and “Swiss Made B”, found on early examples of the reference. A rare opportunity for the collector, it is a ‘time capsule’ watch that is sure to impress.

  • 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, tachymeter scale, Gay Frères bracelet, guarantee, presentation box, and hang tag.

37.5mm diameter

$12,000 - 24,000 

Sold for $37,500

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas
+1 212 940 1293

WINNING ICONS – Legendary Watches of the 20th Century

New York Auction 26 October 2017