1969 Zenith el Primero tri-color

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1969 Zenith el Primero tri-color

Post by koimaster » October 27th 2020, 1:28pm

1969 Zenith el Primero tri-color ref. A386 Mark I, an affordable grail, a cult classic, the el Primero tri-color dial become a Zenith’s trademark, around 2500 made between 69/71.

The A386 was the first commercially released automatic chronograph, there are three different types of the A386.
The first – Mark I case numbers 538dxxx to 539dxxx – have a plain case back and no groove on the lugs. Mark II case numbers 706dxxx to 708dxxx have a plain case back and a groove on the lugs. Finally, Mark III with case numbers 861dxxx to 233Exxx have a four pointed star on the case back and a groove on the lugs.

In 1969 three automatic chronographs were introduced: the Zenith el Primero, the Seiko 6139, and the Caliber 11 (produced in partnership with Heuer, Hamilton/Buren, Dubois-Depraz and Breitling). To this day, it is disputed as to which of these brands launched first. In fact the Caliber 11 did go on sale before the el Primero.

The history of el Primero might have ended abruptly in 1975. That was when the Zenith Radio corporation, the American company that had owned the brand for the past four years, decided to stop making mechanical watches and to stick to quartz watches. The decision was irrevocable and the owner intended to negotiate a scrapyard price for all the machines, calibers and tools. The order was to be executed without delay and the metal along with a century of tradition to be sold by the ton to the highest bidder.

https://www.timeline.watch/watch/1969-z ... 86-mark-i/
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