Zenith A386

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andy_s

Original Poster:

16,872 posts

217 months

Monday 11th November 2013
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If you like automatic chronographs then you'll know all about the El-Primero, a fast beat, integrated, column wheel chronograph - with date - from 1969. Modified and used by Rolex in the eighties and still used, little changed, today by Zenith. 'Getting it right first time' sums it up I think.

About 2,500 of these models were made, in about 4 slight variations (dial printing/case change/rear case change). One of the first models to use the movement, the first model to feature the now well-known tri-colour dial and originally the only stainless steel model in the traditional rather than Zenith 'tonneau' case; the A386, seen here with the A384 and A385 in the catalogue of the time - you'll notice the case shapes and dial registers -


(courtesy Lou @ WuS from - http://forums.watchuseek.com/f27/overview-vintage-... )

Mine has a service second hand (poss), over-polished lugs and a service crown but I can't afford to be too fussy; otherwise it is a nice series 'III' with original, slim type, register hands and original main hands, nice dial colours, the Gay Freres ladder bracelet (very original, comfortable and 'seventies') and Zenith box.

In the original 38mm case the movement fits the dial perfectly, the over-lapping subdials do not obscure each other and the date is neat and tucked away at 0430 (notice the subminute markers continue on the window 'ledge'). The trademark paddle secong hand is also a lovely touch I think.

Out of the box:





On the wrist with the bracelet - a 1/71 Gay Freres ladder, as originally supplied with the A386 and other Zeniths of the time:











Sorry about the awful pictures, but at least you have an idea.

Lous great 'cheat sheet' on OTD gives a good summary of all the early El Primeros - http://www.onthedash.com/thoughts/el-primero-cheat...

CardShark

3,794 posts

137 months

Monday 11th November 2013
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Lovely yes

Itch scratched or do you think you'll still look for a more original piece?

yeti

10,523 posts

233 months

Tuesday 12th November 2013
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Cracking looking watch and nice write up Andy, thanks yes

Miguel Alvarez

4,835 posts

128 months

Tuesday 12th November 2013
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These have been on my list for ages. Lovely watches.

andy_s

Original Poster:

16,872 posts

217 months

Wednesday 13th November 2013
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CardShark said:
Lovely yes

Itch scratched or do you think you'll still look for a more original piece?
I'm very happy with this one to be honest, but if a better one came up and I was in a position then I'd do the swap - I've looked since early this year and missed only one or two that were perhaps better, quite a few that weren't.