Last week, Zenith and Revolution magazine, as well as sister publication The Rake, dropped this – the El Primero A3818 Revival “Cover Girl”. This watch is a dead ringer for the original El Primero “Cover Girl”, so-called because it was the watch featured on the cover of Manfred Rössler’s book Zenith: Swiss Watch Manufacture Since 1865. The Cover Girl is considered to be one of the rarest and most desirable iterations ever to carry the El Primero moniker, with less than 1000 thought to exist. Hot watch. Retro perfection. Ladder bracelet. These are the three things we’re digging about the Zenith X Revolution El Primero A3818 Revival.
But first, can you get one? Be quick. This new model will be limited to just 100 pieces in total, with half the allotment going directly to Revolution and The Rake, while the other half will be sold exclusively through Zenith boutiques across the globe.
The satin-brushed petrol blue dial of this watch is goddamned gorgeous. It’s also somewhat of a rarity within the El Primero collection, seeing as that most of the iconic chronograph-equipped timepieces feature contrasting coloured sub-dials. The A3818 Revival well and truly bucks this trend, keeping the same arresting blue for the three registers, with only the outer rings of the sub-dials sporting a contrasting splash of black and grey. The “pyramid”-style chapter ring, finished in a striking shade of white, is another standout of the dial. The combination of both tachymeter and pulsation scale around the dial’s outer edge does kill the eye with kindness a little – so much information! – but we don’t care. It’s good busy. Oh, and there’s Super-LumiNova … everywhere – this watch is a veritable Christmas tree in the dark by the looks of it. We’re also pretty fond of the bright red central seconds hand, it really makes the whole watch pop.
Oftentimes it’s very easy for a watchmaker, when creating a revival piece, to fall into the trap of changing, or the dreaded ‘updating’ of certain characteristics about the original watch to bring it into the 21st century. And one of the foulest of fouls here is the unnecessary increasing of the overall case size of the watch. Time and time again, we’ve seen what would’ve been brilliant re-creations spoilt by liberal injections of growth hormones. But not the A3818 Revival. The stainless steel case’s 37mm proportions are exacting to the original, and this watch is all the better for it, especially when you consider that, due to the unique case shape, the watch wears a fair bit larger that 37mm anyway. One area where we are happy that Zenith saw fit to deviate from the original was in the use of sapphire crystal in place of the plexi. The new glass is still domed like the original, but because it’s sapphire that has also been given an anti-reflective coating, it’s both incredibly scratch resistant and highly legible. The caseback also scores sapphire crystal, which means that owners can get a glimpse of the imperious El Primero calibre 400. Sapphire sandwich is the best kind of sandwich.
There are a few truly iconic bracelet designs out there – Oyster, Jubilee, Beads of Rice and, of course, the “ladder” bracelet that the original A3818 El Primero wore. This stainless steel retrograde wonder is the epitome of ’70s vogue, and it suits the character of the watch so, so well. Additionally, we like the fact that it’s nicely tapered; it gives the watch a more svelte overall look and it’s all the better for it. And it’s probably also worth mentioning that if you’re more a leather band type of person, the A3818 Revival comes with an additional beige calf leather strap and blue calf leather racing strap.
The Zenith X Revolution El Primero A3818 Revival “Cover Girl” has a recommended retail price of $8100 USD (roughly $12,300 Aussie Dollars).