Look at Zenith’s new Chronomaster Sport and some may see a Rolex Cosmography Daytona lookalike. While there may be wannabe aspirants to the Daytona legend, Zenith’s chief executive Julien Tornare will assure you this latest chronograph watch is no copycat.
The timepiece, which was an instant hit when it was launched last month, has the Swiss luxury brand’s DNA written all over it. The overlapping subcounters and colour scheme, on a black or white dial, go all the way back to 1969 when the brand rolled out the El Primero A 386. The 41-mm wide stainless steel case configuration is inspired by the Zenith “De Luca” models of the late ’80s.
Julien Tornare, CEO of Zenith
The stainless steel bracelet, Tornare says in a Zoom interview, was first
made for Zenith by Gay Freres – a renowned watch bracelet-making company Rolex later acquired in 1998. “We were known for watches like this in the ’70s and ’80s,” he adds. “Zenith and Rolex (also) had a very strong connection at some point. We supplied the El Primero (automatic) movement to the Daytona for 12 years (1988 to 2000).”
That’s why, Tornare says, only Zenith has the “legitimacy” to make the Chronomaster Sport, which watch fans see as having achieved the right balance of history, legacy (El Primero) and modern design. “If another (watch) brand comes out with a watch like this one, people will say ‘Ah, they’re trying to copy (the Daytona)’.”
Tornare is confident that the Chronomaster Sport watch will contribute to Zenith’s success and visibility this year and in the future.
But the main attraction of the watch is more than just a skin-deep resemblance to the Daytona. The high frequency chronograph, which runs on the latest of Zenith’s famous El Primero movement, features a central hand that makes one turn in 10 seconds – six times the speed of a normal chronograph hand.
The Chronomaster Sport is the flagship of the Chronomaster collections, one of Zenith’s two “pillar” collections. The Chronomaster includes updates and revivals of past models. The other pillar collection is the Defy line, which offers high complications and creative timepieces.