Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

1969 Meets 2021 With the 38mm Zenith Chronomaster Original

The Zenith Chronomaster Original featuring its iconic tri-colored dial.
The Zenith Chronomaster Original featuring its iconic tri-colored dial. Image used with permission by copyright holder

1969 was an iconic year across the world. The Beatles played their last public performance on the roof of Apple Records in London. In France, Concorde conducted the first supersonic test flight. 350,000 rock fans descended upon a New York farm named Woodstock and in July, Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the Moon.

Emerging from Le Locle, the cradle of Swiss watchmaking, Zenith debuted the A386, a watch with few influential or iconic equals over the last five decades. This summer, Zenith finally released its successor, the Chronomaster Original.

While Zenith paid tribute to the emblematic A386 with gold versions in its Chronomaster Revival collection for El Primero’s 2019 50th anniversary, a steel re-release has long been something that collectors and horological aficionados have been awaiting. 

The two versions appear nearly identical, showing off the same lunar gray, charcoal, and blue dials upon a white face, a subtle homage to the Space Age’s defining colors. Each features a quintessential 38mm round, bezel-less steel case with a raised and domed crystal, three pump-style steel push buttons, radial-brushed and polished surfaces and faceted lugs. The A386’s steel bracelet, though, forgoes 1969’s open “ladder” design for solid links. 

Zenith is taking the Chronomaster Original into the 21st century inside and out. All of the A386’s intrinsic parts are passed down to the Chronomaster Original, with subtle updates to boost performance including 1/10th of a second precision and the most recent El Primero 3600 time measurement.   

Related Guides

It’s not uncommon for a watch style to become classic, but it’s rarer for a watch movement to gain fame. After more than 50 years, the A386’s El Primero calibration – the world’s first automatic high-frequency integrated chronograph move — remains legendary, appearing not only in Zenith watches, but in Ebel, Dunhill, DuBois et Fils, TAG Heuer, and Daniel Roth.

Alongside its original tri-color dial, the Chronomaster Original is available in two other versions: An 18k rose gold-housed version (with the same tri-color dial), and a steel-cased “reverse panda” black dial and silver chronograph register.  

In many ways, such an update, both internally and stylistically, is the perfect tribute to a watch that, in 1969, was years ahead of its time. The collection is available now at Zenith Boutiques, online and authorized retailers around the world;

Read More: WatchGang Subscription Review

Editors' Recommendations

Matthew Denis
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Matt Denis is an on-the-go remote multimedia reporter, exploring arts, culture, and the existential in the Pacific Northwest…
Apple Watch Series 9 vs Apple Watch Series 8: Should you upgrade?
The Newest Apple Watch Comes with Siri Built In
Apple Watch S9 with Nike bands

Apple has debuted its next generation of smart watch, promising more power, increased functionality, and an all round upgrade on previous generations. But if you dropped around $400 on an Apple Watch less than a year ago, is it really worth opening your wallet again?

There are several arguments against buying new tech every time it comes out. There may not be that big a performance leap between one or two generations of a device, or in the case of an iPhone changes may actually be minimal from year to year. Then there’s cost to consider. A device like a smartwatch is a significant purchase, so why buy another if you really don’t have to?

Read more
Overland is the king of ski towns: Celebrating 50 years of American mountain west outerwear
How did Overland win over the mountain town
Taos Storefront 2023

Every industry has its mainstay brands that only get stronger with more competition. There will always be some new and fresh idea that challenges all those before it and tries to change the industry. Then there are those brands they face, who have been around for decades, weaving in and out of competition and outlasting every challenge thrown their way. For every new and exciting watch brand, there is a Rolex standing strong. While there are plenty of explanations for why a brand outshines every other around it, Overland Sheepskin Co. has an explanation all its own. On this, their 50th year, we look back and try to understand how this family-owned business became the King of the Mountain towns and what keeps them on top.

Back in 1973, the flagship store in Taos, New Mexico, took a bale of sheepskin and a sewing machine and began creating coats, hats, and mittens for the surrounding area. As word began to spread about their quality, the whole family had to pitch in to help out to meet the growing demand. Five decades later, with 17 stores throughout the Rocky Mountains and across the country, they have become a mainstay in the mountain and ski towns for their quality and dependability. We got a chance to sit down with Monty Goodson, manager of the Santa Fe store and a buyer for the company, to find out how they did it and how they maintain the culture that has made them who they are today.

Read more
Bell & Ross BR-03, its flagship watch, updated for first time in almost 2 decades
A classic design gets a much-deserved update
BR 03 Military Ceramic watch Bell & Ross

In the realm of luxury watches, Bell & Ross holds a unique place. The brand is renowned for its meticulous craftsmanship and innovative designs, which have consistently pushed the boundaries of watchmaking. One of their most iconic watches, the Bell & Ross BR-03, recently underwent a significant update, marking a milestone in its nearly two-decade history.

Founded in 1992 by Bruno Belamich and Carlos A. Rosillo, Bell & Ross quickly gained recognition for its dedication to producing professional timepieces tailored to specific needs. Their watches are often inspired by aviation and military aesthetics, characterized by a perfect blend of form and function. Over the years, the Bell & Ross BR-03 has become a symbol of precision and reliability, earning its place among the finest luxury watches.
The timeless design of the BR 03
The Bell & Ross BR 03 has always been celebrated for its distinctive square case design, paying homage to cockpit instruments. Its robust and bold appearance sets it apart from traditional round watches, and the BR 03 has been a favorite among those who appreciate a timepiece that makes a statement. The signature square case, clear numerals, and luminescent hands make it not only aesthetically pleasing but also highly legible.

Read more