Among other “year of” proclamations, this is shaping to be the year of the Chronomaster Revival from Zenith. Earlier this year, we saw the release of both the Chronomaster Revival Shadow as well as the Chronomaster Revival Manufacture Edition. Well, today, Zenith is releasing yet another entrant into the Revival space, with the Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty. In terms of design, this is far more similar to the Revival Shadow, and in terms of colorway, it shares some similarities with the Manufacture Edition. What makes this watch special, however, is that it is a limited edition exclusive to the North American market, which explains the Liberty naming convention. More than that, this watch features a red, white, and blue color scheme with large white sub-dials, a striped red chronograph seconds hand, and red date window text inside of the well-known Revival A384 case.
Aside from the obvious homage to the U.S. with the red, white, and blue coloration, this watch also takes inspiration from the 1960s – a time which saw the release of the El Primero in 1969. As touched on at the top, the case design of this watch is virtually identical to that of the Revival Shadow, with retro late-’60s, early-’70s styling and tonneau shape. The case is almost entirely brushed, with interesting beveling and angles resulting in dramatic sloping on the case sides leading down to the lugs.
The case itself is a direct reproduction of the original Zenith A384 from the 1960s. In order to pull off the 1:1 reproduction process, Zenith used the original blueprints and production plans. The case has been built in exacting detail, except for the domed sapphire crystal and display caseback (those, as you may expect, were not features of the original watch). The dial is not just blue, but a matte blue, finished with a vignetting gradient effect, producing an almost smokey look.
Now, there is no shortage of blue-dial watches on the market today, but this one has a lot of character. That faded gradient styling adds an aged look to the design, and the fact that this is a matte dial just brings the whole vintage effect together. The attention to detail continues with the dial text. The watch utilizes period-correct typography (flat 4, flat A, El Primero wordmark, etc.) in the overall design. All of the text – from the dial, to the sub-dials, to the tachymeter scale – looks hand-painted, although I have not been given indication that that is the case. There is an almost purposeful imperfect nature to the application of the dial text – and numerals – that makes this feel like a watch released in 1969 and uncovered, after years of neglect, in a drawer somewhere.
Getting back to the North American market-centric nature of the watch, there are red accents throughout. First is the central chronograph seconds hand. There is an almost lacquer-like quality to the chronograph hand, giving it a certain prominence against the rest of the dial while also providing some more levity to an already colorful watch. That hand has an alternating red and white stripe pattern with red at the tip, providing legibility against the internal tachymeter scale. The red date at 4:30 accentuates a date window position which can be quite controversial, but the fact that the watch calls attention to it in this way adds a certain confidence to the overall design – plus, it makes it easier to read the date. The red accents flow onto the strap where there are single red stitches on either side.
The aforementioned tonneau-shaped case is sized at 37mm and wears pretty much exactly like a vintage watch. Sometimes modern watches released in “smaller” sizes can wear larger for a variety of reasons, but due to the fact that the case is a complete reproduction of the A384 case from 1969, the fit makes a ton of sense. Despite the smaller case size, the dial loses nothing in terms of legibility, largely due to the size of the sub-dials and white tachymeter text against the blue dial. The hands on the dial are rhodium-plated, faceted, and coated with Super-LumiNova.
Although this is a faithful recreation – in terms of form – to the A384, the addition of an exhibition caseback, as mentioned, is a departure, as is the domed sapphire crystal. That notwithstanding, neither take away from the core idea of the vintage design. On one hand, it would be easy to just do a full and exact reproduction, but Zenith has decided to sprinkle in some modern flourishes such as the caseback and crystal, which both aid in terms of durability and in showcasing the in-house column-wheel chronograph movement. That El Primero movement, the 400 Automatic, bears the signature star on the rotor and provides 50 hours of power reserve. The caseback of the watch is inscribed with text referencing the celebratory and special nature of the limited edition.
The blue strap is meant to have a cordura (on the outside) and leather (on the underside)-like effect, but it is, in fact, rubber. This is a really soft and comfortable strap. With the size of the watch, you almost forget you’re wearing it when it is on. But the color and playfulness of the blue and red offer plenty of reasons to look down at your wrist. The strap is affixed to a matching stainless steel buckle which again sports the Zenith star insignia, the same as the rotor.
The Zenith Chronomaster Revival Liberty is the third Revival release of 2020. It is limited to 150 pieces and will be available, as referenced, exclusively in the North American market.
Model: Chronomaster Revival Liberty
Reference Number: 03.US384.400/57.C823
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Color: Blue gradient dial with white counters and tachymeter scale
Indexes: Rectangular markers
Water Resistance: 50m
Strap/Bracelet: Blue “cordura effect” strap and red stitching. Stainless steel pin buckle
Caliber: El Primero 400 Automatic
Functions: Hours and minutes in the center. Small seconds at nine o’clock. Chronograph: central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at six o’clock, 30-minute counter at three o’clock. Tachymetric scale. Date indication at 4:30.
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Frequency: 5 Hz
Chronometer Certified: No
Pricing & Availability
Price: $ 8,700
Limited Edition: Yes, 150 pieces
For more, click here.
Photos: Kasia Milton