Today we present one of the watches we have loved the most in recent years, the new Zenith Chronomaster Original 38mm 'Reverse Panda'. El Primero A386 born in 1969, which is the first automatic watch with a chronograph.

The new Chronomaster Original brings with it a great technical revolution with the new caliber 3600, but leaves intact the A386 line of 1969 that has made so many fans fall in love for over 50 years.

'El Primero', since 1969

On January 10, 1969, in a press conference held in Le Locle, Zenith announced the birth of the caliber 3019, called El Primero as it was the first manufacturer to publicly launch its automatic chronograph according to the brand.


Reference A386 was introduced in 1969 and housed this revolutionary new caliber. The case was 37,5mm in diameter with long angled lugs and the long tachymeter scale in flange. The dial was in keeping with the aesthetic freedom of the 60s-70s with its superimposed blue, gray and anthracite dial and red chronograph hand bringing a pop of vivid color. With an overall modern and colorful look, the model's launch marked a move away from the more understated aesthetic of the 40s and 50s

The 'El Primero' caliber had an impressive frequency of 36.000 VPH while maintaining a power reserve of 50 hours.

However, El Primero's success was short-lived. On May 28, 1971, the company was sold to Zenith Radio Corporation, first a radio and then television manufacturer based in Chicago.

The new Chronomaster Original

The Chronomaster Original features a 38 mm steel case of the same proportions as the A386, with a black “reverse panda” dial and light brown leather strap. Powered by the El Primero 3600 high-frequency automatic caliber, equipped with a chronograph function with a reading accuracy of 1 / 10th of a second and a 60-hour power reserve.

With this new model Zenith has perfectly combined style and technique in a single watch.
The new Chronomaster Original recovers the same dimensions from the past with a 38mm case and the same fit of a vintage watch. Compared to previous versions, this new model is not a limited edition and we find it with a steel case.

If for many the novelty lies in the new 1/10 second movement, in my opinion Zenith takes a step forward also on the aesthetic side while remaining faithful to its past.

True, the new movement achieves high standards of precision by beating at a frequency of 36 vibrations per hour and adding a tenth of a second, thus projecting Zenith into the future of mechanical chronographs; but the choice to keep intact the lines of the past, makes us understand how much Zenith has understood the importance of its heritage and wants to keep the design of its watches recognizable.

The choice to keep this design is by far the specification that most surprised me when wearing this model, offering a unique aesthetic of its kind.


Reference: 03.3200.3600 / 21.C903

Diameter: 38 mm
Thickness: 12.6 mm
Case material: Steel
Indices: rhodium-plated, faceted with Super-LumiNova SLN C1
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap / Bracelet:  steel bracelet, light brown leather strap

Caliber: El Primero 3600 Automatic
Functions: El Primero automatic chronograph with column wheel capable of measuring and showing a reading accuracy to 1 / 10th of a second. Date at 4:30. Seconds stop mechanism
Power reserve: 60 hours
Load: Automatica
Frequency: 36,000 vph

The list price is 8'300Euro for the version with strap and 8'800Euro for the version with bracelet.