This week Zenith launched a vintage re-edition called the Heritage Cronometro Tipo CP-2 – based on the 1960s Cairelli chronograph. The original Cairelli timepiece was sold by Roman retailer A. Cairelli, who supplied these particular watches to the Italian Air Force. The dial read “A. CAIRELLI, ROMA” and the solid caseback was engraved with AMI and CP.
Aesthetically, not a lot has changed from the original 1960s model. The retailer name at 6 o’clock now reads “AUTOMATIC.” And the Zenith star is now applied instead of printed at 12 o’clock.
Zenith 1960s Cairelli chronograph Ref. AMI, Photo Credit: Hodinkee
The case is slightly bigger at 43 mm x 12.85 mm, compared to the original which is 42.5 mm x 12.5 mm. And a sapphire crystal is used now instead of a plexiglass. However, like the original, the back is made of solid stainless steel.
With the exception of the subdials, which are now closer together, and apart from the aforementioned changes, the Heritage Cronometro Tipo CP-2 is a very accurate remake of the 1960s timepiece which inspired it.
One element that purists will surely notice is the spacing of the subdials, as they are now much closer together. The reason for this is that instead of using the manually wound caliber 146-DP, which is, of course, no longer in production, or a movement with the same dimensions, Zenith essentially shoehorned an existing El Primero 4069 automatic chronograph into the steel case. The result is not awful, and having a 5Hz modern chronograph is surely worth more than an antiquated vintage movement, but it does throw off the proportions of the dial, in my opinion.
That said, the overall execution of the re-edition is quite good and with a retail of $7,700 the 1000 piece limited edition will likely still sell well as the vintage versions of very hard to find and cost approximately twice the price. (Ref. 03.2240.4069/21.C774)