Introducing The Zenith Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition The final version of the A386 with the original Revival case features a unique dial by Jorg Weppelink May 23, 2020 MIN READIntroducing The Zenith Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition
The best stories of previous generations are usually found in the attic. Zenith knows this all too well as the story of the revival of the famous El Primero movement revolves around the attic of their Zenith Manufacture building. In 1975, now Zenith legend Charles Vermot hid all the technical plans and tools necessary to produce every component of the famous El Primero movement. Amongst them, a box of prototype dials for the El Primero A386 that were never used in production. Until now, with the introduction of the Zenith Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition.
It has been great to see that Zenith has been gracing us with a string of excellent releases lately. The most loved ones amongst watch enthusiasts are, without a doubt, the Revival pieces. And I have to say the brand has found great inspiration from their past lately. The Revolution × Zenith A3818 “Cover Girl” was a stunner we wrote about here. Only a couple of weeks ago, followed by the Chronomaster Revival Shadow. It’s an A384 that is inspired by a black PVD prototype from 1969. By using darker colors, the Chronomaster Revival Shadow gets a dose of seriously understated cool. This week the brand surprises us with the release of the Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition.
The A386 Revival in steel
Many enthusiasts had hoped for a steel A386 last year when the El Primero movement celebrated its 50th anniversary. Although the re-edition in steel did technically happen, it wasn’t available as a separate piece. Michael reported on the release of the Zenith 50 Years of El Primero Anniversary Set containing three pieces, including the steel re-edition of that original A386 from 1969.
Although the box set was impressive, it was limited to only 50 pieces. A lot of the vintage Zenith enthusiasts would have rather seen the release of a separate A386 Revival in steel. Instead, Zenith decided to release three golden re-editions of the A386 as separate pieces. As Michael stated in his article about them, it was a better homage to the original watch from 1969 than the exclusive set but still no steel re-edition. But word came out that Zenith wasn’t planning on producing a steel re-edition again as a separate piece. Fast forward a year, and we do get to see the release of a separate steel A386 Revival model.
The final version of the A386 Revival
To the surprise of many, Zenith announced the release of the Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition. It’s a stainless steel version of the A386 Revival that will be the last to feature the original Revival case. On top of that, it features a unique dial color configuration featuring three different shades of blue. It is based on prototype dials that were found in the grenier or attic of the historical Zenith Manufacture building.
They were part of the materials that Charles Vermot hid when Zenith announced the ending of the production of all mechanical movements. That announcement came as a result of the ongoing quartz crisis. Vermot ignored company orders and secretly hid all the documentation and tools necessary for the production of the El Primero movements behind a sealed wall in the attic of the building. By doing so, it allowed Zenith to resume production of the El Primero movements easily in the mid-1980s. With his actions, Vermot saved the Zenith brand and has become the brand’s legendary icon.
The story of the dial
The story of this Manufacture Edition of the A386 is the story of the dial. The people from Zenith found a small unlabeled box that contained several dials in the attic of the Zenith Manufacture. In the box, the signature El Primero tri-color dial of the A386 with black, grey, and blue subdials. On top of that, well-preserved versions of another dial using three different shades of blue for the subdials.
There are no records of this dial, so they are presumed to be prototypes. They were kept with the dial that was used for the A386 when it was released back in 1969. Therefore the blue version is believed to be one of the original prototypes considered for the final production model. It was never officially produced, and believed to be hidden by Charles Vermot when he hid all the other El Primero tools. To honor the unique story of the dial and its beautiful colors, Zenith decided to produce this modern re-edition of the A386.
A change in colors
The Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition is in line with the previous Revival editions of the A386. The 38mm stainless steel case with pump-style pushers is an exact reproduction of the A386 from 1969. It’s been recreated to the same dimensions by using the original blueprint of the watch to preserve its proportions. With the introduction of the different dial, Zenith steps away from the iconic overlapping black, grey, and blue subdial. What we get in return is a dial that is just as stylish by using three different shades of blue. From left to right, the blue subdial colors get increasingly darker.
All the other details of the dial are as we know them from the original watch. The white lacquered dial features applied Rhodium-plated and faceted hour markers coated with Super-LumiNova. It is contrasted by the black minute track and black printed details. The white hour and minute hands have white luminous and black inserts, and the chronograph hand is a bright red. The date aperture is positioned at the 4.30 position. As mentioned, Zenith stayed true to the original design of the A386, and that’s why the design feels familiar. Even up to the point that the three blue subdials feel like it was always like this. It confirms that this dial also could have easily been used for the production model in 1969. The watch comes with a matching blue alligator strap with protective rubber lining and a stainless steel pin buckle.
The El Primero Movement
The Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition is powered by the in-house produced El Primero 400 automatic movement. It’s a declination from the first El Primero movement as it was introduced in 1969. The high-beat column-wheel chronograph movement ticks at 36,000vph and has a 50-hour power reserve. It is visible through the sapphire case back and that’s the biggest difference compared to the original watch from 1969. Seeing the movement is not punishment though as it is nicely decorated and shows you the magic of the El Primero movement. After all, it’s what started the great Zenith legacy.
Pricing and availability
The price of the Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition is CHF 8,900. It comes in a special book-like packaging that has the Zenith Manufacture printed on its cover. As this is a Manufacture piece, the watch was supposed to be offered exclusively at the Zenith Manufacture. Due to the current situation we are in, Zenith has decided to offer the watch through its website until the Manufacture re-opens. The e-commerce site will be rolled out gradually across different markets. First up are Italy, France, and Switzerland in May. Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom will follow. The United States will follow shortly after that.
The Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition shows how strong and iconic the design of the A386 is. The blue and white dial design proves to be as relevant as ever, despite it is over five decades old. The different dial is a beautiful variation on the original dial that will definitely appeal to a broad audience.
The fact that Zenith made clear a steel re-edition was off the table makes this Manufacture Edition even more special. I have no doubts that the A386 Manufacture Edition will find its way to buyers. Although the watch is a Manufacture exclusive, it is not a limited edition, and that makes it even better. The Chronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture Edition is another excellent release in a string of great re-editions from Zenith. It will be interesting to see if there are more spectacular finds in the Zenith archives that the brand can surprise us with.
Brand Zenith ModelChronomaster Revival A386 Manufacture EditionReferenceRef 03.Z386.400/60.C843DialWhite-lacquered dial with three blue counters in different shades of blueCase MaterialStainless steelCase DimensionsDiameter: 38mm, Thickness: 12,6mmCrystalSapphire crystalCase BackSapphire crystalMovementZenith El Primero 400 automatic movement, Ticking speed: 36,000vph, Power reserve: 50 hoursWater Resistance50 meters / 5 ATMStrapBlue alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining and stainless steel pin buckleFunctionsHours and minutes from the center. Small seconds at nine o'clock. Chronograph: central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at six o'clock, 30-minute counter at three o'clock. Date indication at 4:30.PriceCHF 8,900 Watch of the Week
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About the author
Jorg has been working in marketing & communications for 15 years. He is specialised in developing brand strategy, brand portfolio, brand design and brand communications. Besides, he loves watches and the stories that make them worthwhile. He can be spotted… read more
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