The history of Zenith El Primero

Watches Zenith El Primero

El Primero was created in 1969 and was the first chronograph with an automatic movement and 36,000 alternations per hour.

In 1975 the ZENITH Radio Corporation, which had owned the brand for four years decided to stop producing mechanical watches and limit production to quartz watches. However, they hadn’t counted on Charles Vermont, who, along with his brother, had devoted a great part of his career to the development of this movement. He tried to reason with the American company but his efforts were in vain. The orders were to be carried out immediately and the machines were about to be destroyed. Being unable to stop the destruction, Charles Vermont set about hiding the essential items required to create the movement. He labelled, catalogued, sorted and protected the cams, cutting tools, stamps and machines and described the entire manufacturing process in a notebook.

Nine years later, in 1984, all the lost tools were put back in place and the El Primero movements could once again be produced.

A great story behind, what is today, one of the brand’s classic timepieces.

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