Among collectors there are different point of view regarding who released the first automatic chronograph and recollecting informations from 50+ years ago is a true challenge. Furthermore, many things can be considered in the process like the years of the development, the announcement date, the production span, the market release and which area to consider.
It is a fact that on 10th January 1969 in Le Locle, after more than seven years of research and development, Zenith got quite a record introducing the El Primero’s Calibre 3019 PHC, the first automatic, high-frequency, chronograph movement.
Which model housed this legend caliber first? The lowest production serial numbers can be found on the casebacks of the El Primero Ref. A386, making it the very first El Primero Chronograph. The present vintage A386 is an early Mark I example of the first production batch ever manifactured with <500 pieces estimated, and only few of them survived so far.
Designed in a more traditional way, the stainless steel case differs from the A384 and A385 brothers of the El Primero Trilogy, and sits smoothly on the wrist. The rare ZJ endlinks match perfectly the shape curves and blend into the Gay Frerès ladder bracelet, surprisingly comfort on a daily wear.
A true legend, the heart of this watch is El Primero 3019 PHC, beating 36000 A/h. The chronograph function was designed to be integrated into the movement, instead of a sandwich module. One of the details we love the most is the iconic tri-colour dial, look at the three overlapping sub-registers. Not to mention the glypmse of red given by the chronograph's seconds hand. You can find all detailed watch condition in the full CONDITION REPORT.
Now accompanied with the Zenith Extract from the Archives, confirming the production of the present watch between May and August of 1969.
Manifacturer - Zenith
Year - 1969
Movement – El Primero 3019 PHC, Automatic winding
Model Name – El Primero Chronograph
Reference – A386
Material - Stainless steel case
Bracelet/Strap - Stainless steel Gay Frères ladder bracelet, “ZJ” endlinks
Clasp/Buckle - Stainless steel Gay Frères clasp
Dimensions - 38mm x 45mm
Signed - Dial, Movement, Caseback, Crown and Bracelet
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