Zenith Heritage 146: old look, new heart

Zenith had been somewhat of a conventional, calm brand when it comes to communication. But since last year, the brand has started becoming more active and more engaging. In Geneva this January, the Swiss watchmaker, along with Hublot and TAG Heuer, hosted an exhibition of latest watches and products aboard a lavish boat, moored on the shores of Lac Leman. Jean-Claude Biver, President of LVMH Watch Division and current acting-CEO of Zenith, officially inaugurated the exhibition with Mayor of Geneva Guillaume Barazzone, inviting press, friends and guests to party and preview the new collections before the boat opened its doors to the general public the following day. After discovering the intense black El Primero Tourbillon Skeleton and El Primero Skeleton late 2016, what caught our eye this year was the Heritage 146 chronograph.

Vintage design

Being one of the first historical watchmakers to emerge as a full-fledged Manufacture, Zenith is built on a legacy of more than 15 decades. It is only natural then for it to celebrate this heritage by relaunching or reinterpreting some of its iconic vintage models. Drawing inspiration from a 1960s watch, the new Heritage 146 chronograph vintage series is now equipped with a column-wheel El Primero movement chronometer. Its retro look takes life in a new, tropical brown or blue colored dial, housed in a 38mm vintage-steel case. Not straying far from its historical predecessor, the Heritage 146 is combines a design from the past, with a heart from the present.

New movement

While the 1960s model was equipped with a Calibre 146D with a 38-hour power reserve, the new Heritage 146 boasts an automatic high-beat El Primero Calibre 4069 chronograph with a power reserve of over 50-hours. Reflecting a configuration typical of 1960s chronographs, this two-counter dial without a date window has a central sweep-seconds hand, a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and a tachymetric scale. Regulated and adjusted to meet chronometer standards, the 254-part column-wheel chronograph calibre, wound by an oscillating weight decorated with “Côtes de Genève” finishing, drives an extremely accurate tenth-of-a-second display.

The retro feel is made contemporary by a racing-style strap in a choice of brown or blue rubber-lined calfskin leather. With such interesting timepieces launched in the past few months, and Jean-Claude Biver taking on the role of acting-CEO, what will the brand have waiting for us at Baselworld in March?