Star power
Esquire Singapore|September 2020
Star power
With the legendary El Primero as its launchpad, Zenith is skyrocketing to stratospheric heights.
Celine Yap

When presented with the opportunity to create a special edition unique piece based on one of modern watchmaking’s most legendary mechanical calibres, there is simply nothing more a person could say but yes. This was the position in which auctioneer extraordinaire Aurel Bacs found himself last year when Zenith, creator of the preeminent El Primero movement, came calling.

As part of Zenith’s 50th anniversary celebrations for the El Primero—a high-frequency self-winding chronograph movement launched in 1969 with great fanfare—the manufacturer proposed to co-create a watch with Bacs’s organisation, Phillips in association with Bacs & Russo. This is the very auction house that sold the world’s most expensive Rolex and Patek Philippe wristwatches within a span of no more than five years.

Together, Zenith and Phillips produced a Chronomaster El Primero that truly was a fitting commemoration of the anniversary. Cased in platinum and completed with a gorgeous lapis lazuli dial and two oversized subdials as a throwback to the historical reference A384, it was an exceptional timepiece, to say the least.

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September 2020