Zentih El Primero A385 - winding issues

Thread: Zentih El Primero A385 - winding issues

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  1. #1
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    Zentih El Primero A385 - winding issues

    Hi all

    I would be very grateful for your input on how a vintage El Primero A385 should wind if it is working well. I have just purchased it but I am a little concerned that the movement is not winding correctly as while the crown turns anticlockwise very smoothly and easily, when I try to wind it upwards it is difficult and it feels like it grinding heavily so I am worried that doing so is damagaing it so I stop after a couple of turns. I understand from reading these forums that most El Primeros should wind in both directions so I feel it should not be experiencing such resistance when winding upwards as this would seem like the more normal direction for me to wind it. Would be interested on you thoughts on if this is normal or if there is an issue with the movement. Should it wind pretty freely both directions or is it normal for there to be considerably more resistance/grinding when winding upwards/clockwise?

    May not be relevant but also setting the time seems somewhat stiff and jumpy when turning anticlockwise interestingly - although it does work I would expect it to be a smoother experience.

    Thank you very much.

  2. #2
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Zentih El Primero A385 - winding issues

    I would advise not winding it manually then.

    I presume that you are experiencing this when the watch has been worn for quite some time. I also presume that, if the watch is allowed to run down, it will wind freely (manually, that is). If so, everything is perfectly all right. My El Primero from 1996 (Cal. 410) does the same. It would then, in fact, be a sign that the watch is winding well via the automatic winding mechanism. I am not sure what causes the phenomenon you are describing and have been told that in modern versions of the El Primero, it has been fixed. I presume that, once the mainspring is fairly well wound up, the resistance to manual winding is great enough to divert more power from this winding form to the automatic winding mechanism and that something there crunches a little. As stated before, I would just leave it alone in such a case.

    Hartmut Richter

  3. #3
    Member WTSP's Avatar
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    Re: Zentih El Primero A385 - winding issues

    My vintage A384 doesn’t feel significantly different when wound manually or through the rotor than my current model. It’s difficult to gage a sensation based on description alone, but yours doesn’t sound good.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Zentih El Primero A385 - winding issues

    Thank you very much, Hartmut and WTSP. Much appreciated and very interesting to hear your about your different experiences. I plan to get the watch serviced so it will be interesting to see what it is like after. I will report back after. Thanks

  6. #5
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    Re: Zentih El Primero A385 - winding issues

    I've got no direct experience but especially with a vintage watch, I'd get it inspected and serviced - too much risk of making one problem into a much bigger one.
    DOXA SUB300T Professional | Omega Seamaster 2538.20 "Great White" GMT | Omega Speedmaster 3592.50 "Hesalite sandwich" | Seiko Turtle SRP777 | Zenith El Primero Open

  7. #6
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    Re: Zentih El Primero A385 - winding issues

    If you do get your watch serviced by Zenith, it will likely need some extra time due to the pandemic. Here’s a excerpt from a message by CEO Julien Tornare which was sent as a newsletter yesterday.

    “we hope to reopen the manufacture and resume our work in a more normal capacity, perhaps as soon as the beginning of May. Until then, we are partially opening the Manufacture every week, in a limited capacity, with a very reduced team, which takes all the necessary safety precautions and will be equipped with masks, gloves and protective eyewear, while respecting safe distances between each other in the offices and workshops. This will allow us to meet the demands of the markets that are coming out of confinement, in delivering products and continuing work on the prototypes of our upcoming pieces. Tending to our existing customers’ service requirements is also of the utmost importance to us, and so this partial and gradual reopening of the manufacture will allow us to continue to receive and register watches sent back to us for repairs and contact our clients accordingly.”

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