With full box and papers, this was made as a very close re issue of the original El-Primero from 1969.  Model reference 03.A384.400/21.C815


From the guarantee card, which shows the case serial number that appear on the case back, we can accurately date this watch to being sold in October 2019.  The model was only launched in June 2019 as a 50th Anniversary of the El-Primero, and therefore has 1969-2019 on the case back too.


The El-Primero may vie with the Calibre 11 and Seiko 6139A as the first automatic chronograph to come to market – incredibly that argument never seems to have been settled – but what you can say without doubt is that is was best of the three.  I had more complications than either of the other two, and runs at 36,600bph which is significant for a chronograph – ten beats per second mean you can time accurately to a tenth of a second.  It was so good that Rolex used it in their Daytona models, albeit they dumbed it down to a slower beat and got rid of the date.  The only bad thing was the timing – by the mid seventies too few people were buying complex and expensive mechanical movements, instead preferring the quartz models and the newer technology.  Zenith stopped making the El-Primero and nearly scrapped the tooling.  But some brands put the movements in their watches – you will find Concord, Dunhill and Ebel watches with this movement in.

In the nineties Zenith relooked at the market and realised they had made a mistake only making quartz watches, and switched back to mechanical production with the Elite 690 movement, and the El-Primero returned too.  Now it is the first watch you think of when someone says Zenith, and the shape of this reissue is very close to the original A384 from 1969.  We have shown this watch next to the circa 1970 example in Rossler’s excellent Zenith book, where the author states only around 2,600 original watches were ever produced.  There are some upgrades – tritium is replaced with super luminova, the glass is sapphire crystal rather than acrylic, and you have a sapphire crystal exhibition case back too on the re issue.   The watch has been worn, so shows some very light scratches on the case, but the watch is £2,500 cheaper than a new one.  The leather strap is in very good order, as the watch has been worn on a Forstner ladder bracelet which we will include (but it is short – the video is on the bracelet and the photos on the strap.)

This watch will be supplied with the original presentation box, papers, unused cleaning cloth 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 birthyearwatches.com and should not be used without permission.


Width with crown  40.2 mm

Width without crown  37.2 mm

Between lugs  19 mm

Lug to lug length  46.8 mm

Case Thickness  12.8 mm

Bracelet will fit a maximum wrist size of 175 mm.  The bracelet is included for free but the watch will come to you on the leather strap.

All sizes are approximate.  The watch is photographed on a wrist of 190mm/7.5 inches.

Included with this watch is a 3 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.

From 1st September 2021 we will be planting a tree for every watch we sell, working with the International Tree Foundation (Est 1922) to make this business positive on carbon.  By buying anything pre owned you are effectively reusing what already exists, but this takes it further and makes us feel good.