The Dark Master: Introducing the new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”
Come on out now, you can stop hiding. Presenting the new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”.
The American poet Walt Whitman once said, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
In what seems to be the embodiment of this quotation is the new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”. The brand has found a watch prototype hidden in its archives. Bringing this watch out of the shadows of 1970s and into the daylight of today is Zenith.
2019/20 are the years of Zenith’s resurrection. 2019 was a banner year as it marked the 50th anniversary of their famed El Primero movement. In honour of that, the brand released a fair number of limited edition iterations.
Continuing this into 2020, Zenith has been hitting it out of the park this year, with back to back great releases, whether be the introduction of a new collection (DEFY Midnight), expanding of an existing collection (Elite) or re-issues of vintage icons (Revival A384).
It is the last one we are particularly interested with in this article. The last one is the non-limited version of the El Primero A384, a watch series that ran from 1969 to 1971 only. Zenith then followed this up with a limited edition release of it’s ‘Cover Girl’ watch, the El Primero A3818 Revival, in partnership with Revolution. This was a re-issue of the original A3818 that was introduced in 1971 for a brief time and only in limited quantities. It features a pyramid track, tachymeter scale, logo and text in Super-LumiNova® for added legibility, and a display case-back showcasing the famed movement. This movement also features an oscillating weight with “Côtes de Genève” motif.
In short, these watches are the stuff of legends. All these watches are one of the most elusive and sought-after El Primero watches. Joining these two is the new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”.
No Longer Hiding
Following hot on the heels of these releases is the new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”, that quite like the ‘Cover Girl’ version, is surrounded in a fair bit of mystery and hype of its own given it’s a timepiece inspired by an obscure prototype from 1970.
The new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow” is a direct descendent of a prototype of a manual winding chronograph that was housed in a blackened steel case. This prototype was produced in very limited numbers, and was never officially produced or commercialised. Presumed lost or missing, this prototype was recently discovered by the brand’s team hidden inside the famed secret walled-off attic where Charles Vermot had once hidden all the plans and parts necessary to produce the El Primero movement.
I don’t know about you but I sure am a sucker for tales like these. They make watch reviewing and collecting more fun and humane.
The reference 97.T384.4061/21.C822 features the calibre El Primero 4061 which is a self-winding automatic movement with column-wheel chronograph beating at the frequency of 5Hz (36’000 A/h) allowing for a decent (min.) 50 hour power reserve. The movement helps with depicting the following functions: hours and minutes in the centre, small seconds at 9’o clock, a central chronograph hand, a 12-hour counter at 6’o clock, a 30-minute counter at 3’o clock, and a peripheral tachymetric scale.
Unlike the recent El Primero A384 and A3818 Revival models, this new watch doesn’t feature a date aperture at 4:30.
The movement is cased inside a 37mm diameter microblasted titanium case with a water-resistance of 50m (5 ATM). This dark watch case frames the black dial with grey counters and faceted rhodium-plated Super-luminova® SLN C1 coasted indices and hands. The watch package is completed by a black rubber with a ‘cordura effect’ strap featuring white stitching and a microblasted titanium pin buckle.
Watch Ya Gonna Do About It
Zenith has been at the forefront of influencing the Swiss watchmaking since 1865, and the new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow” features an exceptional in-house developed and manufactured movement that’s cut from the same cloth as the first automatic chronograph, the El Primero.
The standout feature of this new release has got to be the dark visual aesthetic. The case provides for an appeal unlike so many other re-iterations where brands simply introduce an old existing model in a newer case.
The new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow” decides to carve out its own path.
Zenith has made a few necessary modifications to the original prototype. Rather than making use of stainless steel with a superficial layer of black coating, Zenith has opted for microblasted matte Titanium, than lends the lightweight material an intrinsic characteristic personality and what you get is a sort of play of different shades of grey rather than just black.
As the case sometimes is with monochromatic black watches, legibility can be a concern. Zenith has managed to bypass that by introducing lighter grey chronograph counters and tachymeter scale that contrasts against the deep, matte black dial. The hands and applied markers are filled with white SuperLuminova that emit a bright green glow in the dark. The watch may overall have a stealth effect but the legibility has not been compromised.
We have spoken about this previously as well in our earlier articles on Zenith’s watches, but in my opinion even though the watch has a fairly masculine feel to it, it may please the feminine market as well. As such I feel this new release opens up the female retail market for Zenith as it is a section of the industry that is often overlooked. People with small wrist sizes, men or women, could really appreciate this. It is a relatively small 37mm, especially if you look at the present day watch trend of oversized watches (including Zenith’s own 45mm Pilot’s watches). But this smaller size is a bonus given not many new small sized chronographs are available in the market today.
Dark and mysterious, yet bold and legendary, this release further cements Zenith’s recent resurrection.
For more information on the new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow” and other Zenith watches, please head to their website here.