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In the midst of all the horological icons (Speedmasters, GMTs, Cartier Tanks and the like) that we are fortunate to handle every day, arguably the most rewarding part of doing what we do is discovering lesser known vintage timepieces and seeing what makes them tick (pun intended). Much of the time the unknown pieces we come across are less than desirable for one reason or another, but every so often one comes along that simply blows us away, and we can't wait to share it with our colleagues, friends and fellow enthusiasts.
Coming from the early 1970s, pieces such as this awesome Movado HS360 chronograph have totally slipped under the radar of most collectors. Their loss.
From a design standpoint, the Datron we're presenting here is nothing short of legendary. Utilizing a terrifically 70s cushion case, this Movado sizes in at a hair over 37mm in diameter and about 43mm lug to lug, making it exceedingly comfortable to wear. Similar to the earliest executions of automatic winding Heuer Carrera, this model proves that sporty steel chronographs need not be grossly oversized to make their point. The dial sports a two-tone silver on blue layout with triple subsidiary registers and a contrasting graduated outer tachymetre ring. Finished with simple luminous hands and steel markers, it manages to achieve a perfectly balanced layout.
As with all vintage chronographs, the overall beauty is clinched with the details. In this case, simple barrel pushers, its original steel bracelet (with correct end links and signed clasp, natch) provide the finishing touches, and the unusual placement of the date window at 12:00 make it stand out in a crowd.
Perhaps best of all, the movement inside this piece is none other than the legendary El Primero by Zenith. One of the world's first automatic chronograph units, the El Primero is a high-beat mechanical movement that is still in use today. Launched in 1969, Zenith made their movements available to a few other manufactures. Unfortunately, Movado isn't much more than a fashion brand today, but back in the day they clearly didn't fuck around, and selected some impressive movements for their line. "Off-Brand" timepieces are often a great value for collectors, and this is no exception. Early El Primero powered chronographs are incredibly hot on the market, yet the interesting collaboration between Movado and Zenith has largely been forgotten. More information on this can be found HERE in this great article by Jason Heaton over at Hodinkee.
All in all, this is an extremely good looking and incredibly rare hi-beat chronograph with a great story available for the price of a second hand Datejust.
How much do we like this watch? Well, our Founder inherited one from his late grandfather, and it could be said that it single-handedly launched a passion for vintage timepieces that ultimately resulted in the website you're currently browsing!
Stainless Steel Case is approximately 37mm (excluding crown). Zenith El Primero Calibre 3019 automatic winding chronograph movement. Circa 1970s.
Overall Condition: The case is in excellent condition over all with no major blemishes or signs of over polishing. Original dial is in outstanding condition with crisp printing and no signs of oil seepage or hand drag. Luminous elements on dial and original hands has patinated evenly. Original(!) acrylic crystal is signed by Movado and shows faint surface marks (easily removable if desired). Original case back and unsigned crown.
Includes original steel bracelet with correct end links and signed clasp. Also includes two 18mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.