It’s becoming more and more frequent for watch brands to create special, exclusive editions for bona fide collectors. A collector’s club based in Silicon Valley is the latest recipient of a customised Zenith watch for its members. With such a high concentration of IT companies and the looming presence of Apple, it would be fair to deduce that most techie guys in Silicon Valley stick to techie gadgets when it comes to wrist wear. Obviously the collector’s club founders – Gabe Reilly and Asher Rapkin – spotted a niche in this high-tech oasis for good old mechanical watches and created the club Collective. As fans of Zenith’s El Primero, which incidentally celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the founders decided to kick off their members-only club with 50 customised watches of Chronomaster El Primero.

Zenith Chronomaster El Primero C.01

Zenith Chronomaster El Primero C.01

What’s different about the Chronomaster El Primero C.01?

The Collective club has gone for the smaller 38mm steel case as opposed to the 42mm – selecting the same case size as the original 1969 model. The case, with a height of 12.45mm, features the familiar alternating polished and satin-brushed surfaces of other El Primero watches but has bespoke satin-brushed pushers to match the lugs. The real customisation tweaks though have to do with the dial.

In keeping with Silicon Valley style mandates, where the dress code is strictly informal, the watch is deliberately low-key and laid-back. Think along the lines of those sleek white Apple gadgets and you’ll get the idea…

Gone are the colourful sub-dials and red central chronograph hand and instead, the watch presents an almost monochrome appearance. The dial features a matte white background with subtle light-grey accents on the minute track and sub-dials. All the printing on the dial is also picked out in grey and for those of you who have a phobia to date windows, this too has been suppressed. According to the brand, this decision was taken in the name of balance.

Zenith Chronomaster El Primero C.01

Zenith Chronomaster El Primero C.01

The applied and facetted hour markers and hands are familiar, but the lume (Super-LumiNova C1) on the tips of the markers and down the hands glows a cool shade of blue in the dark. Like the hour and minute hands, the chronograph hand is also rhodium-plated to blend into the soothing colour scheme. Incidentally, the C.01 in the name of the watch indicates that it is the launch piece for Collective members.

El Primero high-frequency movement

Underneath the sapphire crystal on the reverse side is an El Primero 4601 automatic column-wheel chronograph movement running at 36,000vph/5Hz with a robust power reserve of 50 hours. Although you can’t see it in the pictures provided, the case back will feature an XX/50 and C.01 engraving.

Zenith Chronomaster El Primero C.01

Zenith Chronomaster El Primero C.01

Price

The last detail to set this watch apart from the crowd is the tough and long-lasting Cordura fabric strap “to provide the watch with a more industrial feel” and underline the tool watch aesthetic pursued in this collaboration.

Limited to 50 pieces exclusively for members of the Collective club, the watch has a retail price of USD 6,850. More details at zenith-watches.com.

 

This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.