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In the midst of all the horological icons (Speedmasters, GMTs, Cartier Tanks and the like) that we are fortunate enough to handle every day, one of the most rewarding parts of doing what we do is discovering lesser known vintage timepieces and seeing what makes them tick (pun intended!). Most of the time the 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 1970s, this awesome Movado diver's chronograph has totally slipped under the radar of most enthusiasts, and while we knew of their existence, we admit we had never seen one in the metal - a testament to their true rarity!
At least three distinct elements go into making this unusual chronograph an awesome piece worthy of your attention:
Firstly, the design is totally vintage, replete with a sharply beveled case, unidirectional rotating bezel, pointed crown guards, and a "ladder" style bracelet. Despite is impressive 43mm size (including crown guards), the case remains at a relatively thin 14.95mm thickness from case back to crystal, and its heft is spread evenly across the wrist, making it comfortable and very wearable even on smaller wrists.
Secondly, the detailing on the watch is very impressive. With touches ranging from subtly recessed subsidiary registers to its 12:00 date window (with quick-set!) and signed crown, this is a high quality watch from a brand that no longer makes quality watches (Movado - not Zenith!). And to that final point, the watch is actually double signed by both brands - a very unusual finishing touch we haven't seen before on any other example of this model - even in pictures. More information on their interesting collaboration can be found HERE in this great article by Jason Heaton over at Hodinkee.
Finally, 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 this one slips under the radar.
All in all, this is an extremely good looking and incredibly rare high end chronograph with a great story available for the price of a second hand Datejust.
Steel case is approximately 43mm (including crown guards). Zenith El Primero Calibre 3019 Automatic Winding Chronograph Movement with Movado-signed rotor. Circa 1970s.
Overall condition: Case is in very good unpolished condition, showing light signs of wear consistent with age and use. Dial is in excellent condition, with no flaws or damage of note. All markers and printing is crisp and unblemished. Original hands are in great condition with only minimal signs of patination. Original Bakelite acrylic bezel shows normal signs of aging, but has not chipped or cracked. Original case back and signed crown.
Includes original steel bracelet with expanding diver's clasp. Shows normal signs of wear from age and use.