Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?
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  1. #1
    Member complicated_'s Avatar
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    Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?

    Hi, hope everyone is well. Car afficionados will understand this question. Over the years I have been tempted by Alfa's and Renaults. They are visually and aurally stunning, and they make cars for people who love to drive. When they are running like the way the maker intended they are hard to beat. But, both these brands, amongst others, have a bad rep for reliability and poor build quality. Ask an Alfisti about these issues and they will tell you that it is soul and character. Recently, I was seriously considering a new Clio Sport as a run-around. My mechanic, who is also a good friend of mine over 20 years told me that if I buy it, not to bring it to his shop, that he wouldn't be my friend anymore and that my mother is a *&#$. So I bought another Toyota.

    Which leads me to this question: Would I regret buying a Zenith El Primero Striking Tenth? I have been thinking about this watch for a while, decided that in 2013 I would stop all the impulse buys on vintage pieces and put some money away each month and towards the end of the year she will be mine. But during my research I have found that a lot of Zenith buyers are having issues. Of course I am not going to be inspecting my new Zenith with an electron microscope but some of the dial detail and most alarmingly, problems with the movement are too much to ignore.
    I have bought many brand new watches over the years, from Rolex, JLC, many Omega's and Seiko's. Apart from the Rolex Sub, all the others were complicated with triple date moonphases and chrono's. Not one of them ever gave me any problems or reasons to use the warranty.
    The asking price of the El Primero, to me (I know it's subjective) is a significant purchase as I will be sacrificing a lot to save the money. It will be nearly a year of cutting down to just one espresso a day and packing my own vegemite sandwich to work for lunch.
    The well documented problems with this watch, I observed that most of these are bought from non-AD sources such as Jomashop and Amazon. Could this be the problem?
    If I do buy the Zenith, I would expect it to function as intended and be as reliable as my Rolex, Omega's and Seiko's. I am not like the Alfisti and accept the flaws as "soul and character".
    So is Zenith for me, or just for the true believers?
    Thanks in advance for your help.

    cheers, Mike
    Chronographe Suisse 18k Rose gold, Citizen NH6934-08FB "Autozilla"SOLD, JaegerLeCoultre Master Calendar, Omega: WWII 30T2, Constellation "C" 168.0019SSOLD, Speedmaster "Mark4.5" 176.0012SOLD, Rolex Submariner 16610 STOLEN serial Y862966, Seiko: 6138-0011 "UFO" Speedtimer, 6138-0040 "Bullhead" Speedtimer, 7016-5001 "Monaco", SKX007J Diver 200m, SAEH007 Ananta Chronograph, SBBN013 "Darth Tuna" Marinemaster,SBBN015 Tuna, Steinhart Racetimer brownSOLD, Titoni: Cosmo King Day/date, Airmaster
    Grail: Mint, unpolished Seiko 6138-0040 "Bullhead" Speedtimer 5 Sport UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!
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  2. #2
    Member huntershooter's Avatar
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    Re: Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?


    Nope.

    I've 6 or 7 Zenith (4 El Primeros) and all are dead nuts reliable.

  3. #3
    Member complicated_'s Avatar
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    Re: Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by huntershooter View Post

    Nope.

    I've 6 or 7 Zenith (4 El Primeros) and all are dead nuts reliable.
    Thanks huntershooter,how did you purchase them? ie new from AD or grey market, used?

    cheers, Mike
    Chronographe Suisse 18k Rose gold, Citizen NH6934-08FB "Autozilla"SOLD, JaegerLeCoultre Master Calendar, Omega: WWII 30T2, Constellation "C" 168.0019SSOLD, Speedmaster "Mark4.5" 176.0012SOLD, Rolex Submariner 16610 STOLEN serial Y862966, Seiko: 6138-0011 "UFO" Speedtimer, 6138-0040 "Bullhead" Speedtimer, 7016-5001 "Monaco", SKX007J Diver 200m, SAEH007 Ananta Chronograph, SBBN013 "Darth Tuna" Marinemaster,SBBN015 Tuna, Steinhart Racetimer brownSOLD, Titoni: Cosmo King Day/date, Airmaster
    Grail: Mint, unpolished Seiko 6138-0040 "Bullhead" Speedtimer 5 Sport UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!
    https://forums.watchuseek.com/f21/gra...ad-944573.html

    Watches............the only place where COMPLICATIONS are a GOOD THING!!

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  5. #4
    Member huntershooter's Avatar
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    Re: Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?

    All were purchased used Mike.

  6. #5
    Member dacattoo's Avatar
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    Re: Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?

    It doesn't appear you own a 36000 frequency watch. You should be aware that the reason all watches don't beat at this freq is there is a trade off. The trade off is that parts wear out faster. That is supposedly the problem but I think it is somewhat overblown. Watches that run fast have greater wear. Having said that, the watch doesn't actually run any faster, just the balance wheel. Repair intervals are pretty much the same as most watches, costs are a little higher, similar to Rolex et al. The appearance of the second hand, like Rollies, is a big attraction. The movement has been around for a long time, over 40 years, and used in Rolexes for awhile.

  7. #6
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?

    Fwiw my early 1970's Zenith AF/P with the 36,000 bph caliber 405 movement is running just fine. As long as you have the watch serviced I.think you can look foward to a lifetime of enjoyment.

  8. #7
    Member tritech's Avatar
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    Re: Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?

    I think the brand Zenith should be associated more to Mercedes and BMW than Renault and Alfa: qualitatively we are talking about an house that takes great care of his models and it makes manufacturing (in the modern sense of the term).

    For the rest I completely agree with Dacattoo.

  9. #8
    Member hpark21's Avatar
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    Re: Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?

    I think the OP is asking about issues with this specific model which is not like the usual El Primero.

    Also, I remember seeing close up pics of this particular model which was less than attractive for watch of this caliber.

    I also do not know what problems would one have due to unusual speed at which the chrono second hand moves in this particular model have in longevity of the watch or any adverse effect it can have on the service interval if you use the chrono function with any regularity. The force exerted in stopping the chrono hand must be very high as well compared with other chrono watches.

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  10. #9
    Member Perseus's Avatar
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    Re: Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?

    I'm not a Zenith expert by any stretch, but I do spend way too much time on the forum and I haven't seen many complaints or problems with their watches.
    MZhammer likes this.


  11. #10
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    Re: Is ZENITH the Alfa Romeo/Renault of watches?

    I am not only poor, I also don't particularly like any of the Zeniths I have seen so do not own any, however I am yet to hear any issues regarding reliability.

    On a side note it seems that the antipodeans have a much higher opinion of Renault than we do in the UK.

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