Is the Zenith A279 1960s Chronograph the “Zenith” of Zenith’s manually wound watches?
1969 was a great year…
First man on the moon, Concorde took its first flight, Nixon became the 37th President, and let’s not forget Woodstock!
This watch was also produced in 1969, but rather than being the beginning of a new era, it marked the end of one. 1969, in horological terms was the dawn of a new era of watchmaking, the Automatic Age!
Watch manufacturers were racing to create the first automatic chronograph movement. The race was between a team consisting of Heuer, Buren, Dubois-Depraz and Breitling; while Seiko and Zenith worked independently. Zenith chose the Cal.146 as the basis for their calibre which Zenith would eventually call the “El Primero” or “The First.” This was the future!
Therefore, the Zenith A27 series, with its manually wound Cal. 146 DP movement could be called the “Zenith” of Zenith’s manually wound chronograph watches!
Our particular Zenith A279 is in great condition. The sunburst dial has a few stain marks around its edge, but it just has that lived-in feel, you can’t replicate. The dial has a lot of depth to it due to the contrast between the bright silver sunburst dial and the beautiful matte grey sub-dials. The lume on the five-minute markers has aged to a muddy yellow, while the hands have turned grey and now match the sub-dials.
The case is in fantastic condition with strong lines. There are minor scratches throughout and commensurate with age, but it looks to have never been polished. The crown, case back and movement are all signed Zenith.
Our watch is presented on a non-original, but genuine, Zenith Shark Mesh style bracelet, with a fold over Zenith clasp. It’s polished Stainless Steel and it makes the watch!
The Cal. 146DP movement is in perfect condition, having just been serviced and works as it should. However, we do not guarantee the watch to be waterproof; it is a vintage timepiece after all!
So, the “Zenith” of Zenith’s manually wound chronograph watches? We think so and we believe it should be on every collector’s radar!