Dropped by Time & Gold here in Vancouver today, to enquire about a steel bracelet for another watch. I never dreamed of walking out with a new Zenith on my wrist. We got talking about all watches, as we normally do, and when it came to Zenith, I was told they had received the new El Primero A384 Revival. To be honest, I was rather unenthusiastic - although I did really want to see the watch in real life - because I had almost given up on finding a cushion shape case in any make or model that I would find suitable. And I had briefly read reviews on the A384. However, I was still pouting about the 50th Anniversary A386 lack of availability both in number and in case material. I never thought I would even see one in real life. I have long been a fan of the Chronomaster El Primero Original 1969 38mm based on the A386, and thought the A386 Revival would be perfect. But I realized it was not to be.
Well, when I first saw the A384 today in it's case, I was blown away. I don't know where to start really. The Panda dial is a vivid white background - unlike most photos, which make it look greyish or off white, with pure black subdials that have white hands. And the true red chronograph hand with the rectangular tip, true to the original, just contrast beautifully. And the black tachymetre track around the outside of the dial, brings everything together perfectly. And the size!!! The case, at 37mm, does admittedly fit larger, but it is still not large. If that make sense. It looks absolutely stunning on the wrist - not just my wrist, but I am sure on any wrist - the proportions are absolutely perfect. Could they really have got it that right back in 1969?! I normally don't look at any watch I am trying on, in the mirror, but this one just looks so perfect. And the beautiful leather/crocodile leather strap with rubber lining suits it perfectly. Although, the vintage style ladder type steel bracelet I see in photos looks great as well. Anyway, even the tang buckle is period perfect.
The only hints that this is not vintage are the sapphire crystal ( original was acrylic ) and sapphire case back. The original had a rather plain case back with the Zenith star embossed over the entire back. I normally prefer a solid case back on watches, but with Zenith El Primero I am more than willing to forgive the sapphire back. Especially since the rotor is so beautifully done with the Zenith star cutout. And the rest of the case back is beautifully engraved with "50th Anniversary Edition" at the bottom and "1969 - 2019" on the top. I don't know quite how they manage it, but the case back is screwed in so that the text is perfectly aligned top and bottom. And, of course, the El Primero 400 movement is the latest.
I must also mention that the sapphire crystal is identical in shape to the original, and it does give that magnificent distortion at the edges.
I never thought that I would see a Zenith model with the El Primero 400 movement that would impress me more than the A386/Chronomaster El Primero. Time was definitely on my side when I waited, not knowing this would be the one. While I love the tri-color subdials on the A386, and I am not usually a fan of the Panda dial, this one just tops any Zenith I have seen so far. I also own a Pilot Cronometro Tipo CP-2 Bronze which is gorgeous, and an Pilot Big Date Special, but this one tops even those. It is undoubtedly the nicest vintage or vintage revival watch I have ever seen in real life.
Not going into any more detail on this watch. There are countless excellent online reviews from Basel 2019, which I simply can't top for content and accuracy. I just know that this watch is a true gem, and it will very likely become No.1 in my personal collection.
Here are a few photos I took having got the watch rather late in the day. I can't wait until to get some better pics tomorrow:
Thanks to Ryan, Juanita and Ben at Time & Gold here in Vancouver. Once again proving it is one of my favorite places to spend time. I am just so overwhelmed by this watch and so thankful that they received it from Zenith. Thanks for looking at my review.