Zenith - The New York Watch Auction: X New York Saturday, June 8, 2024 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Zenith
    Year: Circa 1969
    Reference No: G383
    Case No: 927 D 320
    Model Name: El Primero “Poker Chip”
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 3019 PHC, 31 jewels
    Dimensions: 39.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, and movement signed.
    Literature: A similar watch is illustrated in Manfred Rössler’s Zenith: Swiss Watch Manufacture Since 1865, page 248.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Somewhat of a design anomaly even in the daring times of the late 1960s, the Zenith El Primero reference G383 was produced for only two years, from 1969 to 1970, in a limited series of 200 pieces. With a case similar to the G382 of the same era, it is set apart by its ostentatious dial design of radiating lines in black, window panes of gold paint, and alternating fan-like apertures dividing the inner dial. Its similarity to casino chips has led to the very fitting nickname “Poker Chip”.

    Unlike the original El Primero, which had a case diameter of 38mm, the “Poker Chip” case diameter clocks in at an unusually large 39.5mm. The charismatic “spider lugs” extending out from the case, and the flat, stepped bezel serve to further exaggerate its size. Within beats the El Primero caliber 3019 PHC: P for “power”, H for “hour”, and C for “calendar”.

    Watch journalism site SJX Watches reinterpreted the G383 in 2021 with a luminous dial cased in the 38mm Chronomaster case – a testament to the timeless appeal of the “Poker Chip”. The present lot is the first instance of Phillips offering the original model from 1970, a wild and wonderful example of 1970s audacity.

  • 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. G383
An eccentric, oversized, and very rare yellow gold automatic chronograph wristwatch with date

Circa 1969
39.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, and movement signed.

$8,000 - 16,000 

Sold for $34,290

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros
Deputy Chairman, Watches, Head of Watches, Americas
+1 (212) 940-1293

Isabella Proia
Head of Sale, New York
+1 (212) 940 1285

The New York Watch Auction: X

New York Auction 8 - 9 June 2024