Hands-On with the Zenith El Primero 36’000 VPH in Steel

This is a brief Hands-On look at Zenith El Primero 36’000 VPH in stainless steel. The 42 mm by 12.75 mm stainless steel case features alternating polished and brushed surfaces. On the wrist, it feels great and looks smaller than the dimensions suggest.

This particular model is powered by a 400 B caliber El Primero automatic movement. It runs at 5Hz, has 326 components (31 of which are jewels), with a max power reserve of 50-hours. The oscillating weight is skeletonized and has been finished with Geneva stripes, along with circular graining on the bridges.

The sapphire crystal is domed with anti-glare treatment on both sides. The caseback has a flat sapphire crystal. The dial features a silver-toned sunray finish with Zenith’s signature triple-color counters. The hour markers and hands are are faceted, rhodium-plated and coated with SuperLuminova SLN C1. The flange has a printed tachymetric scale.

The chronograph counts up to 12-hours at 6 o’clock and up to 30-minutes at 3 o’clock; seconds are recorded via the central seconds hand. (Note: This is not the Striking 10th Chronograph which has an additional 1/10th of a second counter, like the Lightweight model we went Hands-On with last month.) A small seconds hand runs continuously in the subsidiary dial at 9 o’clock. The date is displayed via a square aperture just below the subsidiary dial at 6 o’clock.




The El Primero comes on an alligator leather strap with protective rubber lining and a steel triple folding clasp. Water resistance is 100 meters. Learn more at Zenith. (Ref. 03.2040.400/69.C494)