Zenith A week on the wrist with the new Elite Chronograph
We were lucky enough to try out two new Zenith Elite Chronographs during one of the most horologically significant weeks of the year.
Paul O'Neil - Elite Chronograph Classic rose gold version
To be brutally honest, this was a watch that took me out of my comfort zone. I rarely wear classic watches and never wear gold, so it was an interesting experience. Furthermore, I had the new Zenith Elite Chronograph on my wrist throughout the SIHH 2016 week, which meant that it caught the attention of a lot of opinionated experts.
My first impressions were that this was a classic watch that was about as sublime and understated as they come. Little did I know, however, that even at this level of refinement, critics would still be able to find devils in the detail. I could never have imagined, for example, that some people would rather have a ring around the chronograph counters, however classic their watch is. Or that the sleek baton hour markers might even be just too simple for some tastes.
The Elite Chronograph was perfect for the opulent dinners of the SIHH – occasions where timepieces from my own collection might be slightly below par. The 18-carat pink-gold case and brown alligator leather strap combine with the elegance of a domed and silvered dial for that perfect touch of refinement. It was only after a week that subtle details like the alternating single and double hour markers stood out, and the fact that the chronograph only counts the minutes and the seconds.
Despite its name, the Elite Chronograph is equipped with the legendary El Primero 4069 chronograph calibre, which has a column wheel and beats at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour (5 Hz) but nevertheless offers 50 hours of power reserve. While the watch may envelop your wrist in total comfort and discretion, it’s always difficult to resist the temptation to listen to its high-frequency heart.
Camille Gendre - Elite Chronograph Classic steel version
When Paul told me that the people from Zenith were lending us an Elite Chronograph Classic, I was ecstatic. The three-hand version, the Elite 6150, was one of my favourite watches of last year. I chose it as my favourite watch among the six finalists in the Petite Aiguille category at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2015.
From the first glance, the vintage inspiration and classic style of the Elite Chronograph Classic are clear. Its 42mm case has a timeless sobriety and yet it is also resolutely modern. I am used to wearing watches whose diameter does not exceed 39mm so I naturally thought that the Elite Chrono would be too big for my rather slender wrist. But that is not the case at all. Thanks to its slender and ergonomic lugs and its thickness of just 11.18 mm, the Elite Chronograph Classic fits perfectly and is very comfortable to wear. The only slight problem for me was that the strap was slightly too long, since the women’s size is not yet available.
The domed, silvered dial with facetted hands make it very easy to read the time, even when daylight starts to fade.
Acquaintances, friends and family all noticed that I was wearing a new watch and I only received compliments on it. “Elegant”, “sober” and “simple” were the terms most frequently used. Watch connoisseurs were also surprised to discover that this timepiece, which is much more classic in design that most other Zenith models, was fitted with the El Primero movement.
For three weeks, the Elite Chronograph Classic never left my wrist: work, dinners, nights out, etc. It proved to be the ideal watch for any circumstances, matching perfectly well with jeans, pullover and sneakers or more elegant cocktail attire. The Elite Chronograph Classic is definitely on my wish list.