Zenith El Primero Chronomaster World Stratos Meeting
Beautiful sports cars always have Italian names. For the Lancia Stratos, Zenith provides the watch to match.
The marvellous northern Piedmont city of Biella, world famous for the quality of its wool industry, was the chosen venue for the 2016 “Rally della Lana Storico” which included this year a world meeting of Lancia Stratos cars to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its last world championship rally victory in 1976. Zenith presented a celebration watch for the occasion, inspired by this great historical automotive.
The Lancia Stratos HF, designed by Marcello Gandini of Bertone Studio in 1971, was immediately chosen by Lancia to participate in the World Rally Championship Group 4 with homologation which started in 1973 and up to 493 cars were produced between 1973 and 1978. A powerful 2.4 litre V6 Dino engine from Ferrari, with 275 bhp for the 12-valve version and up to 320 bhp for the 24-valve version, was installed in the steel tube frame with a Getrag five-speed manual transmission with rear wheel drive.
The Bertone design allowed for a transverse, mid-engine architecture that provided great stability, strong application of power in twisting roads regardless of surface and a high top speed that resulted in many triumphs, especially in the period 1974-1976 when a Lancia works team, led by Sandro Munari and Bjorn Waldergard, achieved consecutive world championship titles.
As a commemoration watch for this emotional event, Zenith prepared an El Primero Chronomaster in a limited edition of only 40 watches with particular Stratos details in its fine-tuned construction. Equipped with the Zenith Manufacture Caliber 4061, the mechanical automatic, integrated chronograph with column wheel functions at the high speed of 36,000 Vph and has a silicon escapement which is visible through the large dial opening at 10. The case, in steel with a diameter of 42mm, has a sapphire back that allows closer inspection of the decoration and finishes given to the movement by the experts at the Manufacture in Le Locle.
Returning to the dial, Zenith has included automotive details such as the official seal of the Stratos meeting at 6 as an hour counter while leaving the continuous seconds on display at the Chronomaster opening previously mentioned. Functional mushroom push buttons with green and red stripes for the chrono start/stop and reset are present on the right-hand side of the case along with the central adjustment crown. A colourful presentation case, in Lancia Stratos colours, includes a miniature Lancia Stratos in Zenith livery. The watch is presented with a crocodile leather wrist band with red contrasting stitching and a steel pin buckle.