El Primero - why those colors
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  1. #1
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    El Primero - why those colors

    The Zenith El Primero chronograph, any reason why those particular colors were chosen for the sub dials, on paper you would not think of putting those colors together but Zenith obviously like them, any reason why, it's the blue subdial in particular, seems almost out of place?

  2. #2
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    Re: El Primero - why those colors

    I don’t particularly think it is out of place. It’s definitely a design quirk that makes the Zenith El Primero instantly recognisable.
    gossler likes this.

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    El Primero - why those colors

    Quote Originally Posted by sea_urchin View Post
    The Zenith El Primero chronograph, any reason why those particular colors were chosen for the sub dials, on paper you would not think of putting those colors together but Zenith obviously like them, any reason why, it's the blue subdial in particular, seems almost out of place?
    It depends on which model, as there are several different subdial color combinations. The most iconic subdial coloring combination is the blue, grey, and dark grey combination, like this:

    Name:  Zenith-Chronomaster-El-Primero-38mm-Reviews.jpg
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    If you have a non-white dialed Zenith El Primero (like blue or grey), they change up the color combinations to maintain contrast. But for the most part, the picture above shows the classic El Primero color scheme, and it's become an absolute trademark of Zenith and the El Primero in particular.

    As far as why these colors were chosen, that color combination appears in the A386 model released in 1969, and I don't think anyone really knows why those particular colors were chosen. I've never seen an official explanation from Zenith. I have heard theories, though. It may all be bulls--t, but my favorite theory is that the colors of the three subdials were chosen to represent solids, liquids, and gasses, in nature, based on how they respond to the passage of time. In particular:

    1) The LIGHT GREY dial on the left represents gases, the most transient and fleeting of the three. That's why it looks like fog or clouds, to represent the free movement of air. The light grey register thus contains the hand that records the most fleeting measurement of time -- the seconds hand, which moves and changes constantly.

    2) The BLUE subdial on the right represents liquids, so it is colored like the ocean. Liquids can move and change, but not as quickly or freely as gasses. The blue register thus contains the hand providing a less transient measurement of time -- the minutes hand.

    3) And the DARK GREY subdial on the bottom, represents solids, so it's colored like dirt or rock. Its form changes the least with the passage of time. The dark grey subdial thus houses the hand that moves the least often -- the hour/half hour hand.

    Again, it would be cool if this theory was actual the reason for the color choices. It might have simply been that the designers in the 1960s simply thought the three colors looked cool together.
    Last edited by Mark.W; August 25th, 2019 at 20:30. Reason: Typos

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  5. #4
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    Re: El Primero - why those colors

    That's a nice theory, I must say! I wonder, whether it's true..... - and if not, I wish it were true!

    Hartmut Richter

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    Re: El Primero - why those colors

    Likewise, I so want that theory to be true :)

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