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Although the automatic El Primero might be Zenith’s most famous product, the manufacture counted scores of other handsome watches in its arsenal.
This was in part due to Zenith’s relationship with èbauche manufacturers like Martel, who was responsible for some of the most beautiful chronograph movements of the 20th century.
Martel was established in 1911 by Georges Pellaton-Steudler. For the site of his factory, Pellaton-Steudler chose Les Ponts-de-Martel, a village nestled in a heavily-forested valley in the Canton of Neuchatel. It was close to the heart of the Swiss watch industry, particularly to the manufactures located in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle—among them Zenith and Universal Genève.
Within a few years, Martel began to specialize in chronograph movements. In 1917 the manufacture collaborated with Universal Genève on what they claimed was the first wrist chronograph movement ever produced. This would establish a long and fruitful relationship that yielded many technically significant watches—such as the Compur and the Compax, for example, which were also retailed by Zenith.
Although Martel continued to collaborate with Universal Genève, it was with Zenith that Martel would be inextricably linked, resulting in Zenith’s purchase of Martel in 1958. The calibres that had been used by Universal Genève were rechristened in Zenith’s catalogs. Among them was the 146D, the calibre contained in this chronograph.
The Calibre 146D was one of Zenith’s highest-grade movements, and could be found in a variety of watches, from sporty variants in steel cases to the elegant gold watch seen here.
This lovely chronograph dates from the 1950s, and is an excellent example of the sport-influenced dress pieces that were produced by many manufactures following World War II. Like the World War that preceded it, World War II had a profound effect on men’s fashions. World War I had done much to popularize the idea of wristwatches for men, and by the time the Second World War had come around, most troops were issued wristwatches.
These GI watches were spartan affairs, often with black dials and bold Arabic numerals. Austerity became the watchword when it came to wrist wear, and the trend would persist in the post-war years. This particular watch, though cast in a precious metal, maintains the sleek look of chronographs that Zenith produced during the war years.
With gold watches coming back into fashion, we think that gold chronographs like this one offer the perfect solution for the collector who wants a touch of elegance and class.
Available exclusively at Marshall Pierce
18k yellow gold case is approximately 34mm (excluding crown and pushers). Calibre 146D. Circa 1950s.
Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition overall with minor signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age. Signed crown.
Includes one 18mm brown suede strap.
Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of our products in perpetuity.
We back each Analog/Shift vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase.
All of our watches include complementary insured shipping within the 50 states. We are happy to hand deliver your purchase in Manhattan or you may pick it up at our showroom.
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