The venerable A386 El Primero gets new colours and this usually hits headlines. Given the raise in popularity of the A386 A386 it was surprising that Zenith didn't iterate to its most celebrated classic watch. While limited editions and modern interpretations abounded, the absence of a regular offering seemed incongruous. That changed with the introduction of the Chronomaster Original models in July 2021. Now, just over two years later, Zenith has given this iconic timepiece a fresh twist with a black-dial variant.
The newest Chronomaster Original essentially flips the traditional A386 color scheme. While the tricolor sub-dials maintain their signature blue, dark gray, and light gray tones, the surrounding elements transform. The eggshell white backdrop is replaced with matte black, extending to the outer 1/10th-of-a-second and "decimal" scales. A subtle yet significant detail is the four-thirty date window, now harmoniously matched with the dial color. This change imparts a suave and slightly dressier aura to the chronograph, potentially making it appear more compact on the wrist. It also brings the Chronomaster Original in line with the Chronomaster Sport models, offering both black and white dial options.
In terms of specifications, the black-dial Chronomaster Original retains the key elements, including the 38mm stainless steel case. The watch is available with either a bracelet or a black calfskin leather strap, complete with a folding buckle.
Under the hood, Zenith equips the timepiece with the El Primero 3600 caliber. This movement operates at 36,000 vibrations per hour, possesses a hacking feature, and boasts a substantial 60-hour power reserve. However, it's essential to note that the dial, although resembling a conventional chronograph layout, conceals a unique movement. The 9 o'clock sub-dial displays running seconds, the 6 o'clock register measures minutes, and the 3 o'clock sub-dial counts seconds up to 60 when the chronograph is engaged. The red central chronograph hand makes a full rotation every 10 seconds, emphasizing the watch's ability to measure time with 1/10th of a second precision.
The black-dial tricolor Chronomaster Original is priced at €9,900 on the leather strap and €10,400 on the bracelet, aligning with the cost of other serial-production models in the lineup. Available on the official Zenith website and through authorized dealers, this watch reminds us of the enduring appeal of the Chronomaster Original. In an era of new releases, it's easy to overlook established timepieces readily available for enthusiasts. Zenith's introduction of this variant reiterates the Chronomaster Original's status as a regular-production watch, a move that's certainly worth celebrating.
Model: Chronomaster Original (black tricolor dial)
Reference: 03.3200.3600/22.M3200 (bracelet) / 03.3200.3600/22.C908 (strap)
Dial: Matte black with blue, dark gray, and light gray sub-dials, applied indices, date window
Case Material: Stainless steel
Case Dimensions: 38mm (diameter) × 47mm (lug-to-lug) × 12.9mm (thickness)
Crystal: Domed sapphire with antireflective treatment on both sides
Case Back: Stainless steel with sapphire exhibition window
Movement: Zenith El Primero 3600 — self-winding 1/10th-second chronograph, 36,000vph frequency, 60-hour power reserve, 35 jewels, column wheel
Water Resistance: 5 ATM
Strap: Stainless steel three-row bracelet (19mm width) with folding clasp or black calfskin leather with folding clasp
Functions: Time (hours, minutes, small seconds), chronograph (60-minute and 60-second counters with central 1/10th-second hand), date
Price: €10,400 (bracelet) / €9,900 (strap)
Warranty: Two years (plus three additional years after online registration)