Throughout its history, Zenith has always had strong connections with the world of motorsports. The Swiss watchmaker has especially been known for sponsoring events and races related to classic cars. For the third year in a row, Zenith is proud to be a partner with one of the most prestigious European gatherings of vintage automobiles: the Tour Auto Optic 2000. This year’s edition will be held from 24th to 30th April 2017. In honor of the upcoming event, the Swiss manufacturer has made a special tribute watch – the Chronomaster El Primero Open Tour Auto Edition. The latest Zenith timepiece is made as a limited edition of 500 pieces. The price is yet to be revealed but, judging by the previous Tour Auto versions, it is going to be between $9,000 and $10,000.
The Tour Auto Optic 2000 is set up by Peter Auto, one of Europe’s leading organizers of classic car events. The 26th edition of the Tour Auto Optic 2000 will gather 230 participants. After the traditional exhibition beneath the glass dome of the magnificent Grand Palais in Paris, the contestants will set off for Brittany for the first time in the event’s history. Each year, the iconic rally features a new route, and for 2017 it will take cars to a journey through roads and landscapes of the north-western France. Every year, the event also highlights a manufacturer or a certain type of car that has marked the history of the legendary Tour de France Automobile race. This year the focus will be on some of the most iconic former French car manufacturers such as CG, Facel Vega, Hotchkiss Delahaye, Pichon Parat, Jide Salmson and René Bonnet.
Now back to the watch, shall we? The new Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open Tour Auto Edition is housed inside a 42mm brushed stainless steel case. Water resistant to 100 meters, the case features a transparent sapphire caseback decorated with the Tour Auto logo. The watch has a beautiful slate grey dial decorated with vertical blue-white-red stripes reminiscent of the French flag. The dial displays hours, minutes, central chronograph seconds, small seconds at 9, 12-hour counter at 6 and 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. At 11 o’clock we have an opening revealing the parts of the movement – a reference to a raised car hood. The entire dial is highly legible, even in dark conditions, thanks to the luminous material applied on the rhodium-plated hour markers and hands.
Inside the 2017 Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open Tour Auto Edition is the El Primero 4061 with 31 jewels. Visible through the transparent sapphire caseback, the self-winding caliber features an oscillating weight decorated with a “Côtes de Genève” motif. The movement itself beats at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour and offers a power reserve of minimum 50 hours. Completing the Zenith Chronomaster El Primero Open Tour Auto Edition is a stylish slate grey strap decorated with blue, white and red stripes, and secured with a stainless steel triple folding clasp.