A timepiece shrouded in mystery. Its existence has eluded collectors and Zenith collaborators alike for decades, wondering whether it actually existed. As the legend goes, in 1970, shortly after Zenith debuted the groundbreaking El Primero calibre, the manufacture had produced a prototype of a manual-winding chronograph, housed in a blackened steel case. Only a handful of this prototype was made, but the model was never officially produced or marketed. Some of the watchmakers and longtime employees of Zenith had heard of the rare watch, and there were even sightings. But they were largely unconfirmed and so the watch remained a mystery.
After Zenith began celebrating the 50th anniversary of the seminarl El Primero chronograph calibre in 2019, the manufacture’s team set out ot find the prototype of the black chronograph, which hadn’t been seen since the early 1970’s. The time had finally come to complete the black watch project that had begun almost half a century earlier. The Chronomaster Revival “Shadow” does not directly reproduce a historical watch but reimagines what could have been.
The Chronomaster Revival “Shadow is heavily inspired by the obscure black chronograph prototype from 1970 and housed in a 37 mm case, a faithful reproduction of the very first watch fitted with the El Primero – the A384. But instead of the traditional choice of stainless steel with a superficial layer of black coating Zenith has opted for microblasted Titanium, bringing out the dark grey nuances of the lightweight yet highly durable metal with its completely matte finish. The case is waterproof up to 5 atm.
In spite of its dark demeanor, the Shadow remains a highly legible chronograph, with grey counters and tachymeter scale subtly contrasting against the deep, matte black dial. The hands and applied markers are filled with white Super-LumiNova that emits a bright green glow in the dark.
Hours and minutes are displayed centrally, and at 9 o’clock you’ll find the running second. The central second hand belongs to the chronograph, at 3 o’clock you’ll find the 30-minute-counter and at 6 o’clock the 12-hour-counter.
Unlike the prototype from 1970, which feature a manual-winding chronograph movement, the Chronomaster Revival “Shadow” features the most prolific automatic chronograph ever made, the El Primero 4061. It operates at a frequency of 5 Hz and provides a power reserve of at least 50 hours.
And of course, the watch is equipped with a display back, so the movement can be admired accordingly.
The Chronomaster Revival “Shadow” is delivered with a black rubber strap with a cordura-effect and a touch of white on the stitching.