A Week On The Wrist: The Zenith El Primero Reference A3817

But did you realize that the reference A386 was not by any means the only watch in the El-Primero family with the tri-shading dial? There was one other, less notable cousin to the ref A386, which has an all the more curiously planned tri-hued dial: the El Primero reference A3817.

While I’ve possessed a couple of vintage Zenith pieces, I’ve by and by never had a lot of wrist time with an El Primero (despite the fact that I have previously claimed one – more on that later). That changed as of late when I had the opportunity to go through around fourteen days with this specific watch.

In a sentence, I believe it’s pretty awesome.

El Primero (Literally, 'The First') Self-Winding Chronograph

If you recollect our article from some time back on the Heuer Monaco , you’ll review we dove profound into the historical backdrop of the Heuer Caliber 11 and revealed to you why there are various suppositions on who really delivered the principal self-winding chronograph. While Zenith may have first declared the development and a couple of models in January of 1969, Heuer is apparently the first to make it to worldwide creation in August of 1969. Furthermore, amidst the entirety of that, Seiko is said to have delivered their rendition of the programmed chronograph as right on time as May 1969, however just for the Japanese market. The set of experiences and conversations are all around reported, and you can see a decent top to bottom article called Project 99 by Jeff Stein here .

The Zenith El Primero 3019PHC.

But there is little inquiry that Zenith’s El-Primero 3019PHC development could be viewed as the most in fact progressed of the three. It was a completely incorporated development, as compared to the Caliber 11, which comprised of a Dubois-Depraz chronograph module mated with a base development from Buren. It likewise included a seconds, hour, and moment counter and the date work, as compared to the Seiko 6139, which had neither an hour nor constant seconds counter (however it had the day work – and we should not fail to remember that the 6139 was additionally the main programmed chronograph with vertical grip). Once upon a time, the El Primero additionally was a development utilized by numerous different producers, including Rolex and Movado. And it is a development actually utilized today in large numbers of Zenith’s watches, with a couple of adjustments since 1969 (Caliber 11, and the 6139 are both a distant memory). With everything taken into account, this is really amazing development, to say the least.

A Week On The Wrist

Now that we’ve covered a touch of history on the development, how does the watch wear on the wrist?

Before all the other things, this is a sizeable watch. While not fair and square of current Zeniths, the A3817 estimates 37 mm barring the crown however is 47 mm from one haul to another due to the plan of the case. It is somewhat more modest in width than the ref A386, which estimates 38 mm barring the crown, yet having worn both I feel the A3817 really feels more generous on the wrist. This is a watch that is sizeable, particularly by vintage norms, yet it sits very well on the wrist and fits under the sleeve without any issues by any stretch of the imagination. That is a direct result of the 6.6 mm tallness of the development; in comparison, the Caliber 11 development is ~7.7 mm tall.

The case itself takes components from both the ref A386 and ref A78x family. It is still fairly tonneau formed, however is much more rakish than the ref A78x (the A3817 really has noticeable carries, for example). The edges looking into the issue are particular and sharp, like the ref A386. The outside of the steel case additionally has a brushed completion, which loans it a fascinating look.

The case configuration was a sudden, yet wonderful astonishment. It withdraws from a ‘average’ case plan, (for example, in the A386), which typically has a roundabout and symmetric focus that wraps the dial. Simultaneously, it isn’t too crazy, in comparison to the case plan of the ref A781/2/3 family. I used to possess a ref A783 – presently that was a stout watch. It seemed like I was wearing a square of metal on my wrist, and thus that observe never truly got a lot of wrist time in spite of the astonishing El Primero development that beat inside. The ref A3817 is a pleasant harmony between the two: inventive, extraordinary, yet smooth; holding an exemplary tastefulness with a scramble of eccentricity.

And obviously, similar to the A386, the A3817 has the particular tri-shading dial. In any case, the A3817 gets more imaginative with an exceptionally extraordinary blue sub-seconds hand on the 9 o’clock sub-dial, which is additionally painted with blue files. The A386, in comparison, has all sub-dials painted with white records with consistently white hands.

The reference A3817 (picture through OmegaForums).

The reference A386 (Image through OmegaForums).

As a note, these watches normally accompanied a hand in a lighter shade of blue than the model in this article (see the image above on the left). At first I thought the sub-seconds hand on my watch may have been a substitution, however subsequent to looking around I’ve come across a significant number watches with similar dim blue hands. The more obscure hand is likewise marginally more slender, and a portion of the models I’ve seen with the hazier hand have the arrangement of all three sub-dial hands just slightly more slender than its partners with the lighter blue hand – which again may propose that the hands are not independently supplanted, but instead come as a set.

The observe further highlights a red oar hand, which can be found in a considerable lot of the El Primero chronographs made by Zenith in this time. Of note is the white dial encompassed by a dark ring, which shows both a tachymeter and a Base 15 throbs scale – which are seen additionally on some different references, for example, the ref A3818 and A788.

The lists additionally have an intriguing pyramidal shape, which I accept is simply restricted to the A3817 and A3818 in the group of El Primero chronographs (however there are a couple of non-chronograph Zenith watches which have it, for example, the Autosport Luxe ). At each brief imprint is an applied metal marker with a stripe of lume down the center, something we see in other El Primero references as well.

Note that this reference should come with a marked crown and case back.

The “SP 1301” engraved within the case back is a reference to the kind of the case (delivered by Spillman – consequently SP). There are a couple of varieties (SP 1205 and SP 1301-1, for example) for various models in the El Primero family.

Again, review that this development beat at 5hz (36,000 beats each hour), which implies that it could have an estimation precise to one-10th of a second. This is in comparison to most chronographs of that time, which beat at 2.5hz and could just gauge to one-fifth of a second. The video underneath (in sluggish movement) compares the El Primero 3019PHC with a Gallet Multichron controlled by the Valjoux 72. Notice that the El Primero beats precisely twice as quick as the Valjoux 72.

The date window is at approximately 4-5 o’clock. The date, in this development, switches momentarily, and in the event that you squint you very well could miss it. (Clue: it happens not long before the sub-seconds hand arrives at the 5 second mark.)

This watch would have initially come on a Zenith stepping stool wristband (with either ZK or ZKM endlinks). I as of late got the opportunity to buy one from a companion and he was adequately generous to allow me to give it a shot. In comparison, I need to say the lash felt much more comfortable. While wearing the A3817 on a wristband is likely the “first” approach to wear the watch, I really favored the calfskin tie just from a comfort point of view (and I thought the arm band looked somewhat delicate to be straightforward). I chose to remain with the cowhide strap.

The ref A3817 was about 30 seconds quick following seven days on the wrist – which isn’t terrible at all for a vintage watch. Keep in mind, the El Primero beats twice as quick as most other vintage watches (18,000 vph versus 36,000 vph) and hence ought to, any remaining things being equivalent, offer better rate steadiness. A more slow beat exemplary chronograph development like a Valjoux 72 ought to hypothetically not proceed just as a quicker beat development, yet practically speaking whether that is genuine will presumably rely more upon how as of late, and similarly as significantly, how well, the watch was overhauled, changed and regulated.

Tips For Collectors

One significant thing for gatherers to take note of: these cases regularly come intensely cleaned. The model that is appeared here has likely been cleaned once, however luckily still holds generally the entirety of the attributes of the first case. One thing to pay special mind to is some measure of leeway between the upper and lower edges of the precious stone and the straight edges of the case. Watches that have the edge of the case quickly meeting the lower or upper edges of the precious stone are probably going to be vigorously cleaned, paying little heed to complete or sharpness of the lines.

The paint is likewise famously flaky on the hands – notice a similar flakiness on the watch introduced. At long last, the lume on the oar hand likewise appears to tumble off shockingly regularly – again something to look out for.

About 1,000 bits of the ref A3817 were delivered, in comparison to around 2,500 pieces for the ref A386, which makes the A3817 essentially more uncommon. While costs for Zenith ref A386s have been climbing essentially in the course of recent years, and you presumably wouldn’t have the option to locate a genuine model for anything short of $10,000, the A3817 can commonly be found at some rebate. A fair model may be found for under $8,000, maybe adding on $500 to $1,000 for models with an arm band. For example, we reached the dealer of this model in quite nice condition (with the exception of the scope seconds hand) and discovered that it sold for around $8,500. All things considered, costs appear to be consistently making up for lost time to the ref A386, so we propose getting one soon in the event that you can.

Last Thoughts

Overall the Zenith El Primero reference A3817 was a charming amazement, and an extremely fun watch to wear. It unquestionably added some tone to my outfit, particularly since a large portion of the vintage watches I own have all things considered two-tone dials. The tri-hued dial of this specific reference adds an easygoing and fun feel, and is adjusted pleasantly by the bigger case. I sincerely didn’t expect the precise tonneau-formed case to develop on me, however it did. The watch is both exquisite and particular, and you see that plan reasoning installed in both the dial and case.

For me actually, the last decision isn’t out yet. I’ll know in about a month when I show up in Paris (where my better half presently is). Stay tuned.

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