Earlier this year Zenith launched watches to celebrate Cohiba’s 50th anniversary (Cuban cigar brand), and prior to that, it partnered with The Rolling Stones, the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, Hero Cup, the Tour Auto and many other events and brands. Partnerships are obviously a big focus for the brand, and now Zenith has taken things a step further by announcing a watch to kickoff its partnership with Land Rover.
If you’re wondering what could possibly drive Zenith to partner with Land Rover, there’s a cool, albeit short, story behind this collaboration. You see Land Rover first drew up plans for the first generation Range Rover back in 1969 (the vehicle came to market in 1970), which also happened to be the year that Zenith introduced its now legendary El Primero chronograph movement. Of course the El Primero calibre was the world’s first integrated self-winding chronograph, and likewise, the Range Rover was the world’s first luxury sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Considering that the Range Rover and El Primero began their respective histories in the same year, Zenith has gone ahead and released the El Primero Range Rover special edition. This watch will become a part of Zenith’s core collection, and so won’t be a limited edition (which makes us think there will be more Zenith-Land Rover watches in the future).
This new timepiece is based on the existing El Primero 36,000vph watch, which is outfitted with the El Primero 400B movement. With the Zenith El Primero Range Rover however, you get an interesting case material – ceramicised aluminium. Aluminium is a light material but because it can be scratched or dented quite easily, Zenith added a ceramic layer to protect the metal. What this means is you have a light watch with the scratch-resistance of ceramic. If you’re thinking to yourself ‘Why didn’t they just use titanium or an all ceramic case?’ well, it’s because aluminium is also used by Land Rover to build the chassis and body panels of the Range Rover. This is a subtle but geeky connection to the vehicle – just the sort of thing we like!
Speaking of subtle, this timepiece features an understated brushed grey dial. There are applied hour markers, the hands are rhodium-plated, and if you look at the main chronograph second hand, there’s another subtle difference. On other El Primeros you normally see a star on the tail of the chronograph second hand but here there’s a sort of hexagonal shape just ahead of the now open straight tail (perhaps it’s the shape of the Range Rover?).
What isn’t as subtle is the ‘Range Rover’ text that sits just under the Zenith name at the 12 o’clock position. You’ll also see the Range Rover name cut into the movement’s rotor, and both these elements while far from in-your-face, may end-up limiting the appeal of this timepiece to Range Rover owners. That’s a bit of a shame because while we like the overall look of this timepiece, we think we’d feel a bit weird wearing a watch that had the name of a car that we didn’t own on the dial. Let us know in the comments if you agree or disagree with what we said above.
Zenith is offering this timepiece with a rubber strap that is coated with either ivory perforated calfskin or blue perforated calfskin. The leather is said to be the same high quality hide that Land Rover uses in its Range Rovers.
International pricing for the Zenith El Primero Range Rover is set at US $7,700, which is a $1,100 premium over the standard stainless steel El Primero.
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