Baselworld 2010: Zenith El-Primero Foudroyante Chronograph

El Primero coming on strong in 2010, 1/10th second at a time…

Zenith is not a watch I cover much on this blog mostly because I find their watches in recent years to be much less than impressive.  Seems this is changing a bit with new Zenith CEO Jean-Frédéric Dufour, on board since mid-2009.  I dare say that he may have a winner on his hands with this new Zenith El Primero Foudroyante 1/10th Chronograph.  I think that this watch just goes to show that if you stick with what you know and do best, well, good things will happen:


The movement of this watch has been designated the “El Primero 4052 B automatic calibre” and it has what is known as a “foudroyante” function, in this case a 1/10th second.  If you are not familiar with the term, “foudroyante” is also known as a “Jumping Seconds” function and on this watch it works like this:  the foudroyante hand (the primary/red hand on this watch) makes a complete rotation in just 10 seconds as opposed to 60 with a normal seconds hand.   This explains why on the outer edge of the dial you see 10 seconds instead of 60 which enables readings to within 1/10th of second.  The watch consists of a 42mm diameter case and will be available in rose gold or stainless steel.  Water-resistant to 100 meters, and sapphire crystal on top and bottom.

Zenith-El-Primero-Foudroyante-ChronographAs an aside, if you want some good watch history, you should read up on the El Primero movement – it is legendary!  First introduced on January 10, 1969….been in many popular/famous watches ever since!

BASELWORLD 2010 is coming soon.  You can see all the hot new pre-releases on’s Official Baselworld 2010 Forum right now!  And many many more when the event starts on March 18th.  Just click here!

  • Speedmaster

    Not bad, I like it.

  • The Rake

    El Primero watch and movement are classics. The mutli colored subs here work for me. Not to the tune of 8k though. Still, a nice, classic piece with a modern/retro look if thats possible.

  • LukasD

    I’m afraid Kyle this post will soon be baned.

    As fr as i know this news is restricted to be published until MARCH 17….

    • Kyle

      Thanks Lukas….I’ll stand by for the email from Zenith :-) I’ll have more to say about “embargos” on Monday, too…cheers!

  • Jason

    I look forward to hearing what you have to say about embargos. I’m guessing you will be discussing the embargo TAG Heuer placed on images that they had already released through Swisstime (Definitely some kind of PR stunt to try to suppress and control the backlash that they received at the initial launch of their new movement – it will follow them when they release the Carrera with the new calibre, regardless of what classless PR stunts they pull). The management of that company is so arrogant, you would think they were Rolex or something.

  • Filip Jacmans

    Agree. What a beautiful movement the ElPrimero 410! Its a bit what the Boeing 747 is to the skies…design from the late 1960’s and ’70s so not the newest but still a “grand classique” of the chronometres. A Chronomaster T with plain silver guilloche’-dial, black alligator strap and plain buckle is one of my wrist best buddy’s….aahhh, and that display back…lovely!!!

  • Filip Jacmans

    Oops, I wanted to say plain, NON-guilloche’ dial…
    Find that this dial has already a lot going on so no need for extra decoration…the sunray-polishing on the steel blued moonphase-disc is already quite decorative on its own.

  • Filip Jacmans

    Also, cannot agree more with the moderator’s introduction…thanks to Zenith’s new CEO J.F. Dufour’s back to basics approach, I really hope they win back all those that are still having signs of nausea caused by having laid eyes on the DefyExtrem-collection and the like…
    Bravo for this newest addition, splendid movement, with foudroyante, nice balanced dial and subtle colorspectrum for the subdials. The red star on the edge of the seconds-hand is perhaps not necessary and for me the size is also a bit “dated to the 2010’s”, 39/40mm perhaps would have been more “timeless”? But nevertheless splendid piece!

    …fingers crossed good things will happen indeed!

  • george

    the world's fastest tic-tac!!!!

  • Aseymour

    what a load of garbage the Zenith company were producing until now?? Defy extreme ect who would want to wear them one your wrist – cheap looking and ugly. How did ZENITH get into producing such ugly watches – Other premier manufacturers must have been sniggering. Has done alot of damage to a great name!

    • Perpetuelle

      Yes, Zenith got on the bad track a few years ago, but now they are headed in the right direction with more classical and beautiful designs!

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