Zenith Heritage 146 made a Pre-BaselWorld 2017 debut with the El Primero movement
This timepiece that comes with a blue or brown rubber-lined calfskin leather strap might just be the next watch vintage lovers are looking for
Shown by Zenith in Geneva in what we are calling the “Alt-SIHH”, the Heritage 146 is now being offered up as a pre-BaselWorld 2017 watch. Whatever the case, it is another example in a long line of pieces that finds the watch trade mining its more recent history for old-school gold. Inspired by a watch from the 1960s, one that preceded the famous El Primero movement, Zenith brings this classic back into the fold, but with the contemporary El Primero, of course. The Heritage 146 chronograph has a period-appropriate 38-millimetre case and comes with either a brown or blue dial.
Apparently, in the 1960s, there was a model that looked much like this one that was powered by the Calibre 146D. This calibre is interesting as it featured a balance that vibrated at a stately 18,000 vibrations per hour, or half what the El Primero of 1969 eventually achieved, and managed a power reserve of 38 hours. Like the new Heritage 146, the 1960s model also sported a bi-compax sub-dial layout and went without a date window. It is remarkable that at a time when a date function on one’s wristwatch would have been a necessity, people managed to do without one, but we digress.
The old movement is set aside here as the El Primero brings its 36,000-vibrations-per-hour engine to play, bringing with it a 50-hour power reserve and automatic winding. It is worth remembering that all chronograph watches were manual-winding affairs prior to 1969, but tastes had begun to shift to self-winding. This being the case, the watch also sports an exhibition case back, which the original did not have. Sticklers for historical accuracy likewise might find the sapphire crystal over the dial somewhat contentious.
The tachymetre scale, which plenty of 1960s chronographs had, has an uncertain provenance here, as it is unclear if this is a contemporary introduction. The strap, on the other hand, will be pleasing to vintage chronograph lovers, being that it is a racing style number, in blue or brown rubber-lined calfskin leather. Collectors will want to note that this watch is very similar to the El Primero 1969 Original Limited Edition for Hodinkee in 2016.
Movement Self-winding El Primero 4069 with chronograph
Power Reserve 50 hour
Case 38-millimetre steel
Water Resistance Up to 100 metres
Strap Blue or brown perforated calfskin, rubber lining
This article was originally published in WOW.