El Primero: Chronomaster Power Reserve, Charles Vermot Limited Edition
This is a beautiful watch. It’s instantly striking in a bold shade of blue with an aperture between 9 and 11 o’clock showcasing the legendary beating heart of the El Primero movement. It also incorporates modern technology by way of a silicon pallet fork and escapement wheel, but in addition to the technical prowess and appealing aesthetics is a wonderful story… and who doesn’t like a good story. The watch is dedicated to Charles Vermot, who is the sole reason Zenith can continue to produce the El Primero movement. In 1975, during the quartz crisis that threatened to crush the Swiss watch industry, the Zenith Radio Corporation decided to do away with mechanical watches entirely and embrace an era of quartz. The company’s decision was unshakeable and no argument for safeguarding the means to create mechanical watches would be heard. One hundred years of tradition in the form of metal presses, cutting tools and technical plans were to be lost. If not for Charles Vermot, who had worked for the Zenith Manufacture for his entire career and was an expert in chronograph movement construction. Vermot averted travesty by steadfastly hiding all the plans and tools within the manufacture, keeping a written record of every tool and component safely stashed away. Astonishingly, he hid 150 presses that weighed more than a tonne each. When Zenith was acquired by new owners in 1978, and interest in reviving mechanical watchmaking was expressed, Vermot unveiled the large wooden crates he’d spent nine years filling up. He expected no reward, but was simply content to have saved the knowledge and craft of creating the El Primero movement. An everyday hero whose quiet insubordination enabled Zenith to relaunch production of its legendary chronograph in 1984. A nice piece of heart-warming history for your wrist. Priced at $9,800 and limited to 1975 pieces.