Zenith has just announced a very interesting new limited edition El Primero, the Lightweight Striking 10th Chronograph. In addition to the very sporty looking case and openworked dial, a significant number of enhancements have been made to decrease the overall weight of the watch.
The movement is an lightweight version of the El Primero — caliber 4052. It has 334 components, 31 jewels, a 50-hour maximum power reserve and runs at 5Hz. Visible through the sapphire caseback is a skeletonized oscillating weight, finished with a “Côtes de Genève” pattern. Zenith maintained the double chronograph wheel in silicon, while adding a lever and an escape-wheel made from the same high-tech, light, antimagnetic material that is harder than steel and guarantees excellent efficiency.
To reduce the weight of the movement Zenith utilized titanium components for the: mainplate, barrel bridge, balance bridge, chronograph bridge, pallet bridge and pallet-wheel bridge. The result is a movement that is 25% lighter, or just 15.45 grams (compared to 21.10 grams for a similar classic movement with a mainplate and bridges in brass).
They did not stop there. The case was a engineered to be very lightweight. Measuring 45 mm in diameter, the outer part of the case is made from carbon fiber. The inner case is made of ceramized aluminum, a cutting-edge material that is light, sturdy and hard (at 1800 Vickers, it is quite a bit harder than 316L steel which is 160-200 Vickers). In addition, the two chronograph pushpieces and the crown are in titanium and the lugs have been hollowed to further decrease the total weight.
The dial — which is protected by a sapphire crystal is cambered and glareproofed on both sides — is openworked, offering a nice view of the mechanical components from either side of the case. Hours and minutes are displayed in the center, with small seconds at 9 o’clock. The hour markers are rhodiumed, facetted and enhanced with SLN C1 Superluminova. The hands are also rhodumed, facetted and enhanced with SLN C1 lume. The red central hands, with a signature Zenith star weight on the end, indicates 1/10th of a second times from the chronograph. At 6 o’clock is the a grey chronograph subdial showing 60-minutes. At 3 o’clock is a blue subdial which indicates chronograph seconds.
A notable feature is the disc-type date display. What makes it cool, is that it has been lightened and reworked with pierced numerals that rotate around the perimeter of the dial and are visible, with the date being highlighted at 6 o’clock with a red background.
Comes on a Nomex coated black rubber strap with a black triple folding clasp. Water-resistance is 100 meters. Limited to 100 numbered pieces. Retail is $22,000. (Ref. 10.2260.4052W/98.R573)