This year, Zenith dropped a modern update to the legendary El Primero Chronograph: the Zenith Chronomaster Sport replica with brown dial. With such an iconic watch receiving an update, there was naturally a lot of coverage, and it was quite a marmite design. On the one hand, people loved the classic A338 blueprint brought in the modern age with a ceramic bezel and up-to-date aesthetic. However, the other hand had people less than enthralled that Zenith dared to touch the timeless A386. Some people felt it looked a particular little like a chronograph from a neighboring Swiss brand…
The Chronomaster Sport: now in rose gold!
Either way, the new luxury replica Zenith Chronomaster Sport was sportier and cleaner, featuring updated aesthetics and improved internal mechanics. Initially only available in a stainless steel body, Zenith has now given customers the option for an opulent rose gold case instead. I’m usually a steel watch guy through and through, but you know what? Zenith might be onto something here. That rose gold case looks mighty handsome.
The 41 mm copy Zenith Chronomaster Sport was not a total departure from its ancestor. The lugs remain sharp, angular, and attractive. Zenith decided to bump the case diameter up to a more modern 41mm, but it doesn’t look out of place. The most drastic change is the new bezel. This black ceramic bezel massively alters the watch’s look and marks an evolution from the A386. It features the 1/10th second scale around the edge rather than the standard tachymeter. The ceramic bezel is where the other-brand comparisons draw from. While I see the point, I’m not sure it’s fair to say that any one brand can truly own the use of a ceramic bezel on a chronograph. Either way, the ceramic bezel brings the Chronomaster swinging into 2021.
Not forgetting heritage
Despite the tweaks, this is still a quintessential Zenith Chronomaster, and the signature tri-color subdials remain ever-present. Some things just couldn’t be tweaked without losing that character, and those overlapping subdials in blue, black, and grey are one of those things. Along with the angular trapezoidal hour markers, we see a definite nod to the watch’s original 1969 heritage.
If the stainless steel case we saw when Zenith first introduced us to the Chronomaster Sport was too “cool” for you, the rose gold case we see today definitely “warms” things up a bit. I think it’s the warmer tones of the rose gold that complement the black ceramic bezel, which appeals to me so much. Zenith extends the use of gold to the crown, chronograph pushers, hands, and the applied hour markers. The engraved 1/10th second scale on the bezel is also filled with gold paint to match the hues of the case. Lovely stuff! The watch is presented on a black calfskin strap and fastened by a rose gold triple locking clasp.
White dial only
At the time of writing, the rose gold replica Zenith Chronomaster Sport is only available with the sharp white dial. However, I would have thought the black dial would be made available in time. I even reckon a lovely chocolate brown dial would look equally handsome. Still, then I guess that would only add fuel to the DaytonaGate flames.
El Primero Caliber 3600
The warm rose gold case houses an El Primero Caliber 3600 beats away inside. This is the most recent evolution to the legendary El Primero family of movements. Zenith first introduced us to this new movement when it launched the stainless steel Chronomaster Sport. It is designed to reduce the overall parts count, taking advantage of modern materials and manufacturing processes to offer improved functionality. We see a welcome bump in the power reserve from 50h to 60h and a change to the chronograph driving mechanism. As a non-watchmaker, I cannot accurately explain it myself but our friend Jack at HODINKEE explained it better than I ever could:
For those of you who the above means nothing to, rest assured that the improvements allow greater chronograph accuracy. Looking appreciate the movement through the display case back instead. I can get behind that. I always say that a case back should be closed unless the watch gives us something to look at. Thankfully Zenith has done just that. The Caliber 3600 is a beauty to behold.