This stainless steel and 18k gold Zenith El Primero is from their Rainbow range, and is in great order.  Model reference 53.0363.400


From the supplied paperwork we can accurately date this watch to being sold in February 1997.


The El Primero is one of the hotly contested contenders for first automatic chronograph watch movement, along with the Calibre 11 and Seiko’s 6139.  It was so good that when Rolex finally made their Daytona chronograph automatic they took the El Primero design and simplified it, and these Zenith Daytonas are highly prized.  The Zenith powered Daytona was made between 1988 and 2000, and if you see the running seconds at the subdial at three you know it is the El Primero powered Rolex.

Rolex missed a couple of points though.  They removed the date mechanism completely, simplified the movement for ease of servicing and reduced the geartrain from the high beat 36.6kbph to 28.8kbph.  To many this was a mistake – the higher beat allows you to easily measure 1/10ths of a second intervals.  However, the Rolex was still the clever buy as they are now worth 3-4 times this Zenith.

This El Primero is in lovely condition, worn but carefully worn.  The bracelet is long enough for most wrists and is made from steel and 18k gold, and it has been cleaned in our ultrasonic bath.  The case is unpolished, and the thick 18k gold bezel is still completely legible and without dinks.  The screw down pushers, just like the Daytona cousin, do have wear through the plate that can be seen when they are unscrewed but that is not visible when they are screwed down. (Screw down pushers help with water resistance, so should be screwed in under normal circumstances anyway.)  The crown is signed and has wear tot he plating too, and the sapphire crystal is very good.  The dial is extremely good.  The calibre 400 movement is working well, including the quick set date – these watches are unusual in that the quick set date is not at position 1 on the crown, but at position 2, demonstrated on the video.  The standard lugs allow this to be worn on a 20mm leather strap if preferred, and the drilled lugs help with these strap changes but this bracelet is held by pins, not springbars, so do not attempt this unless you have the right tools and experience.  We have included a picture for illustration only of this watch on a leather strap.  The box is quite scruffy, and this is something very typical of the time for Swiss watch boxes.

This watch will be supplied with the original presentation box, papers and our Certificate of Authenticity.

Please see the HD video for more detail.  All photos and videos are part of the description and are of the actual watch unless mentioned.  We do not photoshop any pictures, and the images are copyright of and should not be used without permission.


Width with crown  43.4 mm

Width without crown  39.8 mm

Between lugs  20 mm

Lug to lug length  46.2 mm

Case Thickness  12.3 mm

Bracelet will fit a maximum wrist size of 206 mm.  The bracelet can be sized for you if you give us your wrist size when placing the order.

All sizes are approximate.

Included with this watch is a 6 month guarantee and free delivery to UK addresses.  If you live outside the UK we can still deliver to most countries.  Please see our Worldwide Shipping information, or Contact Us.   Payment can be made by most credit or debit cards, bank transfer or PayPal.

 25 total views,  1 views today