Timeless design: Zenith El Primero A385 Revival

Zenith brings back one of its first El Primero watches with a retro-inspired gradient dial

Watches & Jewellery 6 Jan 2021

Seventies style has made a strong comeback in the watchmaking world in recent years, and Zenith’s latest vintage-inspired piece, the El Primero A385 Revival, is a case in point as to why these designs continue to be as popular as ever. A faithful reproduction of one of the first timepieces equipped with its iconic high-presion El Primero movement, it captures the charm of the era with its tonneau-shaped case and brown gradient dial.

Its original inspiration from 1969, the A385, didn’t just deliver on style, but also performance under pressure. It made headlines in 1970 when it underwent an extreme journey to test its resistance to factors including temperature fluctuations, wind force and changing air pressure. Strapped to an Air France Boeing 707’s landing gear, it went on a flight from Paris to New York, still working perfectly on arrival.

The blueprints of this model were carefully followed to create this new iteration, right down to the pump-style pushers. In fact, the only modifications include the use of domed sapphire crystal instead of acrylic glass, along with the addition of a display case back to allow you to fully admire the El Primero 400 chronograph movement that powers the piece.

In keeping with the sports-chic aesthetic of the time is a steel ‘ladder’ bracelet. A modern remake of the Gay Frères bracelets seen on early El Primero watches, they have become a favourite with collectors thanks to their comfortable and ergonomic fit. It also comes with the option of a light brown calf leather strap that will develop its own unique patina over time, adding to the retro feel of the watch.