Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400
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  1. #1
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    Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    I took apart a Zenith El Primero Defy with the calibre 400 movement today. As usual, I have made a blog entry with lots of photos of the whole process, which should be quite interesting for Zenith afficionados!

    Teardown + Service: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400 | Watch Guy

    I would post some teaser photos, but the wus forum doesn't let me post my original photos due to size, and I'd rather clean watch parts than scale down images

    Enjoy,

    Christian
    D N Ravenna, GOJIN and v76 like this.

  2. #2
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    Re: Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    I really enjoyed reading that.

  3. #3
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    Re: Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    Quote Originally Posted by wilderbeest View Post
    I took apart a Zenith El Primero Defy with the calibre 400 movement today. As usual, I have made a blog entry with lots of photos of the whole process, which should be quite interesting for Zenith afficionados!

    Teardown + Service: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400 | Watch Guy

    I would post some teaser photos, but the wus forum doesn't let me post my original photos due to size, and I'd rather clean watch parts than scale down images

    Enjoy,

    Christian
    Very nice blog entry, thanks for that.

    You wrote
    Apparently, the Zenith calibre 400 has 280 components, of which 225 are different.
    Sure about that ? Elsewhere I read "It does not include less than 354 parts including 227 different in the most complicated version" (but that may apply only to the triple date moonphase version).


    You also wrote
    Here, we have a broken unlocking date spring... No problem, as it’s really easy to get hold of Zenith parts. A big shout and thank you for an open policy which supports independent watchmakers!
    That's the first time I hear that...I mean the part about "it's really easy to get hold of Zenith parts." I'd say : take advantage of it as long as it lasts. I'm afraid the general tendency nowadays is on the contrary not to sell parts any more to independent watchmakers. (I don't know why, it makes me wonder what they hope to gain with that closed policy.)
    Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas, praeter ...

  4. #4
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    Re: Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    Cousins UK sells a wide range of Zenith movement parts - pretty much everything you might need. No case parts or bracelet parts, though.

  5. #5
    Member sempervivens's Avatar
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    Re: Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    Quote Originally Posted by wilderbeest View Post
    Cousins UK sells a wide range of Zenith movement parts - pretty much everything you might need. No case parts or bracelet parts, though.
    thx for that, very interesting
    Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas, praeter ...

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    Member CH-dmath's Avatar
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    Re: Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the "wrapped around the backs of your eyeballs" bit. Not speaking from experience I hope...
    David
    …but it's a wet heat.

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    Re: Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    Well, the 50h power reserve coupled with a 5Hz movement has to come from somewhere! No wonder the mainspring is extra powerful. I would be interested in how they service these at Zenith - going by your experience, a new mainspring must be a mandatory part of a standard service!

    As for replacement parts, that's a no-go, I'm afraid. However, in the early eighties, Zenith were quite willing to get rid of old stock (Waldan International got loads of parts) so there is quite a bit floating around, at least for the standard calibres 400 and 410. If you want something special for the more modern calibres (practically everything else), you will be faced with a brick wall.

    However, apparently all hope is not lost. The courts (can't remember whether Swiss or European) are dealing with cases trying to do away with this sort of "protectionism" and there seem to be good chances that the monopoly on parts will be overturned on grounds of unlawful elimination of competition or whatever they would call it. Who knows, if they make the practice illegal, Rolex might go out of business - they were the pioneers of this unwholesome habit.....

    Hartmut Richter

  8. #8
    Member D N Ravenna's Avatar
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    Re: Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    Very nice Christian. That you so much for sharing!

    Dan

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    Member John Chris's Avatar
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    Re: Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    That is so cool and so informative - thanks a million for sharing! Helps explain why I am not a watchmaker - my eyeballs would certainly have been truly scarred by now!

    Incidentally, Rolex chose the cal. 400 movement to power its Daytona Cosmographs in 1986 because they were the best (and only reliable) automatic chronographs at the time, not because of the 10 beats-per-second frequency. In fact, for its Daytonas, Rolex 'dumbed-down' the movements to 8 bps for ease of service, and got rid of the date feature for brand design reasons (its watches had date windows only at 3 o'clock, and that wasn't doable on a chronograph). Rolex finally switched from the Zenith El Primero cal. 400 to its own in-house chronograph movement in 2000. And, as far as I know, the increase in frequency to 10 bps does enhance accuracy.

    What I would love to know is what you use to lubricate the 'high-frequency' parts?

    Thanks again,

    Chris

  10. #10
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    Re: Teardown: Zenith El Primero Defy calibre 400

    From a guy who does not have the courage to take apart his Zenith the blog and photos were great! I felt like a kid looking over the watchmakers shoulder! Thanks!

    Milt.

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