Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow
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Thread: Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

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  1. #1
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    Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

    Hello everyone,

    I am new to this forum although I have owned a Zenith (El Primero 36000 VpH white dial) since 2016.
    I have always wanted a Daytona, but I could not find the fortitude to buy into a 30K CAD grey market watch.
    Like many here I am sure, some research on the Daytona helped me to find the Zenith Caliber 400 connection for the 1988-2000 Daytona's.
    Searching some watch sites and I am able to find many examples at almost 10 times less than the Daytona - I loved the way they looked - and I pulled the trigger.
    I was able to get the 01.0360.400, which I am told from the sticky on this forum was limited to 1660 units. Being an 01, I recognize that my watch started its like with a strap versus the stainless steel band. The one that came with mine seems to be period accurate (please do let me know if I am incorrect - on this and anything else I wrote lol - I am not an expert).

    I have a few questions, some that might cause some purists some pain - so I apologize in advance:

    Quick question on diameter; I see 40mm most of the time with some 39mm. Is the difference because of the inner ring on some of the later Rainbows (making the dial smaller)?

    My watch seems to be in good shape. It seems to be all original. Caseback is correct for the watch, there were no movement pics. I could not find an example that was not polished - and I sure that my example has as well (the seller stated it has been polished "once"). My watch is a 1992/1993. My caseback seems to have some solid scratches - I am asking for more clear pictures. I had thought of getting a NOS caseback for it - but I think this watch has to stay true to its age. I am sure more will agree with the unspoken vintage "do not touch"/all original rule? One of the pushers looks like it has either dirt or rust - I am somewhat worried about that. I have sourced a NOS pusher - thoughts?.
    While you may be cringing on that question, I will ask about the bracelet. Does anyone know (brace yourselves) - if an oyster will fit the case? This is informational only...I am just wondering...

    The not so painful question: servicing the watch; I have a local watchmaster that is fairly famous - which is awesome. For those with these watches, are any of the movement components overly rare (can they be sourced) or expensive? Are there areas of the watch to look out for (hands, dial, bezel, pushers, crown, bracelet, etc.)? Can a proper servicing be had without it having to go to Zenith? Should I only go to Zenith? Does Zenith follow most manufacturers and replace everything?

    Last question - overall operation of these watches after a servicing: has the movement been solid? Has anyone measured the tolerances/time?
    This watch is going to be in my collection forever, so i am interested to know in everyone's experiences with their watches.

    Thank-you for your help everyone!

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  2. #2
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    Re: Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

    Congratulations on a nice watch! Personally, I always though that that model is a little colourless (white on silver with a trace of black - I do so love the moonphase on my ChronoMaster SS silver dial!) but each to his own. A friend of mine has one of the other 1659 specimens!

    I can comment little but can say that the El Primero was released for semi-general use in the early eighties so that replacement parts ought to still be around, although they are getting more difficult to find. The movement is generally very robust so unless it's been treated badly, it shouold not really need replacement parts anyway. If serviced properly, the accuracy is almost second to none.

    Hartmut Richter
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  3. #3
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    Re: Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

    Quote Originally Posted by Hartmut Richter View Post
    Congratulations on a nice watch! Personally, I always though that that model is a little colourless (white on silver with a trace of black - I do so love the moonphase on my ChronoMaster SS silver dial!) but each to his own. A friend of mine has one of the other 1659 specimens!

    I can comment little but can say that the El Primero was released for semi-general use in the early eighties so that replacement parts ought to still be around, although they are getting more difficult to find. The movement is generally very robust so unless it's been treated badly, it shouold not really need replacement parts anyway. If serviced properly, the accuracy is almost second to none.

    Hartmut Richter
    Thank-you Hartmut! It was recently serviced, although the power supply is down to about 44 hours as per the seller. I am fortunate to have a Master Watchmaker local to me so I will have him look at it and get it back into shape. I bought this watch as my Daytona. The more it looked like the white dial the better. Having the same (but not detuned) movement of the Daytona connects it without dispute - so that makes me happy. I am glad to know they are a sturdy movement - I worried about the 5Hz - but I will endeavour to keep it purring. I have an authentic replacement pusher that I may use - but the caseback - I am not sure.

    Once it arrives I will assess it further (and post a few up close pics!).

    Cheers!
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  5. #4
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    Re: Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

    I presume that you need a new mainspring then. The old one sounds a little weak. I have heard that on this movement, the mainspring is so strong (to deliver 50 hours power reserve for a 5Hz movement - a considerable feat) that it is regularly replaced inclusive of the barrel during servicing since extraction from the barrel will frequently lead to the spring flying about your ears with an ensuing risk of personal damage! But maybe yours was serviced independently before and the mainspring was slightly kinked when returning it to the barrel.

    Hartmut Richter
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  6. #5
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    Re: Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

    Thank-you Harmut, I am going to speak with my Watchmaker and likely have him service it and replace any defective parts - including the mainspring.

  7. #6
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    Well - it came in today and I am SUPER happy about this purchase!

    Completely exceeded my expectations - I know it isn’t a Daytona - but I really feel that I am wearing one. A Daytona with a 36,000 VpH heart lol!

    The seller sent it in a fantastic box - and the price was just such a bargain.

    This is a forever watch in my collection - and it is one of my top 3. Really top 2.

    Here are some pics...cheers!
    Attached Images Attached Images













    Last edited by vtknight; March 13th, 2020 at 07:42.

  8. #7
    Member sempervivens's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

    Congratulations! it is sweet.
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    Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas, praeter ...

  9. #8
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    Re: Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

    Gratias tibi! Quin ego hanc vigilia diversi generis multa nimis!

    Moderator's edit (for those who slept through their latin lessons): "Thank you! In fact, I will have this watch and a large quantity of different kinds!" (Probably meaning: "I have this watch and several others like it.")
    Last edited by Hartmut Richter; March 14th, 2020 at 22:14.

  10. #9
    Member sempervivens's Avatar
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    Re: Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

    I think I understand what you mean. You're welcome. I also like these Rainbows a lot.
    vtknight likes this.
    Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas, praeter ...

  11. #10
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    Re: Please Help with my 01.0360.400 Zenith El Primero Rainbow

    Quote Originally Posted by vtknight View Post
    Gratias tibi! Quin ego hanc vigilia diversi generis multa nimis!

    Moderator's edit (for those who slept through their latin lessons): "Thank you! In fact, I will have this watch and a large quantity of different kinds!" (Probably meaning: "I have this watch and several others like it.")
    Quote Originally Posted by sempervivens View Post
    I think I understand what you mean. You're welcome. I also like these Rainbows a lot.
    Lol - I used Google Translate as I saw that Semper had multiple Latin phrases on his profile...Latin speaker - non sum.
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