Zenith - The New York Watch Auction: SIX New York Saturday, June 11, 2022 | Phillips
  • Manufacturer: Zenith
    Year: Circa 1971
    Reference No: A386
    Case No: 862D480
    Model Name: El Primero
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic cal. 3019PHC, 31 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Zenith Gay Frères stainless steel ladder bracelet, end links stamped ZJ, max length 210mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Zenith deployant buckle stamped 1. 71
    Dimensions: 37.5mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by unsigned Zenith International Guarantee, presentation box and product literature.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Zenith’s El Primero (the first) was one of the world’s 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, self-winding chronograph caliber. Renowned for its quality, the Zenith caliber 3019PHC is a watchmaking icon, and was the basis for Rolex’s first self-winding 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 preserved in outstanding, original condition – a remarkable feat considering it is over 5 decades old. It is fitted with a lovely and uniquely styled Gay Frères ladder bracelet. Complete with its original box and guarantee papers, it is a wonderful representation of the new, modern, and contemporary outlook watch manufacturers had in the late 1960s and 70s. This hard-to-find, early El Primero is sure to impress even the most discerning collector.

  • 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 fine and well-preserved stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with date, tachymeter scale, Gay Frères bracelet, guarantee and presentation box

Circa 1971
37.5mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and clasp signed.

$10,000 - 20,000 

Sold for $37,800

Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293



Isabella Proia

Head of Sale, New York

+1 (212) 940 1285


The New York Watch Auction: SIX

New York Auction 11-12 June 2022