Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster
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  1. #1
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    Question Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    Hello everyone. Although I don't own a Zenith yet I am a huge fan of the brand and I've been saving money for some time now hoping to buy my grail watch, discontinued model of Chronomaster, triple date, moonphase chronograph. Financially, I am not 100% there yet but recently I have started to browse some sites, getting to know the prices and the market better. Anyway, recently, I've found one watch that got me interested but at least two things got me a bit concerned. Since I am not an expert on these watches I wanted to share my concerns with you guys and ask for your opinions.

    First thing I noticed is that a watch has COSC certificate... I think. On some photographs I noticed a document titled 'Controle officiel Suisse de chronometres' but unlike COSC certificates that I've seen online this document doesn't show measurements that one would expect - results of timekeeping in different positions but general dimensions, weight etc. Is this maybe just the first page of COSC and measurements are shown somewhere else? Also, in another excellent thread on this forum I have read that Zenith stopped issuing COSC certificates for Chronomasters somewhere around 2001 - 2002. Judging by the temporary warranty card this watch was sold in 2006. Although it is quite possible that the watch was manufactured before 2002 I believe it's highly improbable that it was sitting in store for at least 4 years. Also, I am not 100% certain but I think that I have read somewhere that around that time (2001-2002) Zenith introduced black dials to this models, possibly 'guilloche' finish... While we are at it, since 'guilloche' or better yet 'textured' dial is my favorite dial finish for this model, are the any watches of this model with this type of the dial produced before 2002 and with 410 movement (instead of 410z)? Seller didn't post a detailed picture of the back but I suspect that the rotor has... hatch engraving without serial number on it so I suspect that the watch was produced after 2002.
    Another thing that I noticed are two distinctive handwritings and two pens used for filling the temporary warranty card. Again, I am not 100% sure but aren't those cards filled at the moment of purchase? If so, wouldn't it be logical that the one person, with the same pen, fills this card? I asked the seller for additional pictures and explanations but I didn't get any. To summarize:
    - Is it possible that the Chronomaster produced after 2002 has a COSC certificate
    - When was textured dial introduced to this model
    - Should I be concerned about two handwritings on a warranty card

    For academic purposes, I'd really appreciate if you'd share any thoughts about these matters. Thanks!

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  2. #2
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    Re: Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    Hi. Cant coment on some of your questions regarding this model, but:

    1- The watch could indeed be several years on an AD without being sold (that would explain being sold years after the COSC certificates were discontinued) and

    2- A store may have sold an unpopular model / slow moving stock to another AD (or stock liquidated upon closing) and the first store may had partially filled the card, being completed by the second store. Could also be that a buyer bought it without the date filled in and then he/she filled the date to record date of purchase.

    Anyway on an old piece would not be that concerned for things like these as am
    not a collector but rather a watch enthusiast. Nice looking model !!


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  3. #3
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    Re: Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    Anyway on an old piece would not be that concerned for things like these as am
    not a collector but rather a watch enthusiast. Nice looking model !!
    Totally agreed ! I recently bought this beauty and I'm not concerned about COSC certificate and all that stuff. Sure it's always better if you can have it, but for a watch that old it's not a prerequisite for me.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    Quote Originally Posted by dredzz View Post
    Totally agreed ! I recently bought this beauty and I'm not concerned about COSC certificate and all that stuff. Sure it's always better if you can have it, but for a watch that old it's not a prerequisite for me.

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    Beauty!
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    Francisco
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  6. #5
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    Re: Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    The ChronoMaster came out in 1994 in the SS silver dial and gold enamel dial versions. The black dial one came out later but still before the whole system was revamped after the LVMH takeover in 1999/2000. It was always 40mm and you always got the COSC certificate.

    After the LVMH takeover, the prices went up steeply, and the COSC certificate was not given out any more (if anything, you got some certificate that the watch had one but not the actual certifcate from the COSC with all the values anymore). Also, some changes were made which, if my memory serves me right, were:

    - the El Primero Cal. 400 became the 400Z and the 410 the 410Z since minor changes were made in the area of the escapement (one more tooth on the escapement gear)
    - the original plain dial 40mm version remained otherwise unchanged and became the ChronoMaster T, available with both silver and black dial
    - a 42mm version (ChronoMaster GT) and 44mm version (ChronoMaster XT) were introduced with the new Cal. 4001 (combination of Cal. 410 with full calendar and moonphase and the 405 with flyback), both of which had guilloche dials
    - a further version was brought out of the XT with Cal. 4009 (moonphase by hand rather than disc under dial)
    - the gold versions (at least of the GT and XT models) also got a guilloche dial so the enamel one was dropped in favour of a silver dial

    If your intended watch has a Cal. 410Z, there is therefore very little chance of you getting the actual COSC certificate.

    Hartmut Richter
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  7. #6
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    Re: Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    Big fan of the triple calendar moonphase in both black or silver dial. Great choice


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  8. #7
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    Re: Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    Great choice indeed! An iconic Zenith, one of the really timelss designs!

    If the watch has a rotort number (5 digits in a rectangular box), it should come with a COSC certificate. If it only has "Zenith ElPrimero, swiss made manufacture LeLocle" engraving, then to my best knowledge it didn't come with one, as it was necessary to have a unique serial Nr. to issue the Certificate.

    I belive that the textured dial was introudced the same time as the black (1998).
    Cal 410Z versions also got the COSC before 2002.

    I sure love mine!

    Regards Acme

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  9. #8
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    Re: Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    Not sure about the other questions but handwritten text on the warranty card is perfectly normal as this information is has to be filled out by the AD on the date of sale to be provided to the buyer.

    Nice watch youve got there.


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  10. #9
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    Re: Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Acme View Post
    I belive that the textured dial was introudced the same time as the black (1998).
    This is sort of half true. In 1998/1999, Zenith offered four versions of this model:

    SS with silver dial, Cal. 410
    SS with black dial, Cal. 410
    Yellow gold with enamel dial, Cal. 410
    SS with guilloche dial, Cal. 400 and arabic (rather than roman) numerals

    The last one was somewhat different to the later guilloche dial models since it had the Cal. 400 and the arabic numerals. To the best of my knowledge, it was also discontinued when the Cal. 410 and Cal. 4001 guilloche models were introduced. Here are some pictures of the earlier version:

    [jX Nm..X^[ Gv 03.0240.400/01 ZENITH CHRONO MASTER El Prinero

    Hartmut Richter
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  11. #10
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    Re: Questions regarding discontinuied Chronomaster

    Thanks a lot guys for all the comments and technicalities! As someone who adores this model but doesn't know a lot about little changes it went through I really appreciate all the info. Since all these watches were manufactured a long time ago (and hopefully serviced a couple of times since then) COSC certificate doesn't mean much to me in terms of accuracy. I remember reading one thread, on Zenith forum I think, when someone noted that a box that came with a watch that someone posted was introduced in somewhat later period so, although it was original box it was probably taken from some other watch. To cut story short, I had a reason to believe that the watch was produced after 2002 so, in my opinion, it shouldn't have something that looked like a COSC certificate. Two different handwritings on a warranty card just added to my paranoia that there may have been some 'swapping' between documentation of two watches so I wanted to see what do you guys think. Anyway, it's really nice to see so much love for this model! This is definitely my favorite watch, I hope I'll be able to treat myself with one some day. Great looking watches, btw!
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