Zenith has decided to recreate one of its landmark models which was first built 17 years ago upon a request of the French Air Force. Equipped with a legendary El Primero movement, the most accurate mass-produced automatic mechanical chronograph movement to this day, the watch is a pilot’s instrument equipped with appropriate functions such as its flyback chrono feature. Named after the colorful chrono minutes indication, the new sporty iteration of the classic watch dubbed El Primero Stratos Rainbow Flyback is issued in a restricted issue of 250 copies and presented in a casing made from a high-tech alloy.
El Primero Reinforced
New Zenith El Primero Stratos Rianbow Flyback timepiece is homage to the brand’s successful models, since it draws its inspiration from several breakthroughs of the watchmaker. Firstly, its core is Zenith famed El Primero movement. This mechanism which debuted all the way back in 1969 is one of the first (or the first) automatic chronographs ever unveiled (this is still a matter of dispute). Moreover, it was special since it featured the frequency of 5 Hz which allowed it to be precise within 1/10th of a second. This fact becomes far more impressive when one notices that this is still the most accurate series-produced mechanical chronograph to this very day.
The success of the model and the reputation it brought to the brand did not come unnoticed. Already known for creating successful aeronautical timekeepers, Zenith was commissioned by the French Ministry of Defence to create a timepiece which will combine the amazing precision of El Primero with the necessary toughness in order to be useful for fighter pilots who are, during a flight, exposed to immense forces, fluctuations of temperature and pressure, as well as extreme vibrations and magnetic fields. The end result of these efforts was the launch of El Primero Rainbow Flyback in 1997.
The New Boutique Edition
About 16 years after the unveiling of the model, Zenith is now making a new iteration of its landmark watch. The watch will, by the way, be available only in Zenith’s boutiques. The driving force of the watch is El Primero Calibre 405 B automatically-wound mechanical movement with a column-wheel chronograph. Moreover, the caliber includes a flyback feature for its chronograph complication, which means it can be stopped, reset and once again activated with just a single push, unlike the three actual actions which would be necessary if it was a regular chronograph. Needless to say, this feature is more than helpful to pilots and needed during a flight. As it is expected for an El Primero, it has the frequency of 36,000 vph. Other functions which are enabled by a 31 jewel caliber are a date indication (displayed at the bottom of the dial) and a telemetric scale (another important feature for a pilot which is used to calculate distances).
El Primero 405B has the width of 30 mm and the height of 6.6 mm and is consisted of 331 components in total. As it has been mentioned, it is a self-winding movement that stores additional power which can keep it running for next 50 hours. The oscillating weight which is an integral part of its winding system is decorated with a hand-executed Cotes de Geneve pattern.
Despite being almost completely modeled after its renowned predecessor, the new limited edition still features some novelties. One of the most notable of them is the use of a modern alloy which is used to construct its circular casing. The 45.5 mm wide and 14.10 mm high housing is made from TiAlum, a black colored alloy made by combining titanium and aluminum. The timekeeper likewise has a unidirectional rotating bezel from the same material with a black ceramic disc. Regarding the crystal, the watch includes a domed sapphire with double glare-proof treatment. The same material is likewise found on the transparent case back.
As for the water resistance, new El Primero Stratos Rainbow Flyback Limited Boutique Edition timekeeper can withstand pressures up to 100 meters. Its dial is in black color to match the case and its blackness is punctuated with red numerals on the bezel and the colorful 30-minute chrono scale. The visibility is improved with the use of white Superluminova SLN C1 for its Arabic numerals, as well as on faceted black ruthenium hands. The final touch is a black sporty rubber strap which fastens a triple folding clasp made from black PVD steel.