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FS: Zenith El Primero De Luca first series panda dial NOS

Zenith El Primero De Luca first series panda dial NOS

Get yourself the chance to buy a new old stock, box and papers Zenith El Primero de Luca first series panda dial!

The Zenith El Primero is one of the most iconic watches in the history of watch making. It was the first automatic chronograph introduced to the market and one of the first automatic chronographs produced in series. During the 1960s there were three parties competing to build the first automatic chronograph. The main players were a consortium of companies with mutual interests: Heuer, Buren-Hamilton, Breitling and Dubois-Depraz. In the Far East, Seiko was working on its own version. And then there was the dark horse from Le Locle: Zenith. Whether or not the so-called Chrono-matic group — Hamilton-Buren, Breitling, Heuer, and Dubois-Dupraz — or Seiko actually beat the El Primero to market is not important. What’s important is this: the Zenith movement that resulted seven years after the journey began in 1962 is arguably still the best automatic chronograph in its price range 44 years later. So that this was not forgotten, the movement was given the name “El Primero”

This movement was so well build that even Rolex used it for its Daytona series from late 80s to early 2000. The El Primero was a watchmaking marvel of its time — and not just for one reason. For one, the watch featured a column wheel chronograph with a tri-compax layout. Most chronographs at the time (and many today) utilized a cam-actuated chronograph. There are benefits and drawbacks of using both types of chronographs, but column wheel production is more complex and labor-intensive. That Zenith chose to utilize a column wheel chronograph shows the level of end-to-end watchmaking that went into the El Primero development.

The smooth sweep of the seconds hand is much beloved by watch wearers. Today, the balance wheel in most mechanical watches beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour (vph); if you look closely, that smooth seconds hand sweep is actually eight ticks per second. The El Primero, on the other hand, is what’s known as a high-beat movement, making 10 ticks per second, or 36,000 vph. Not only does this create a smoother sweep, it also allows the chronograph function to maintain accuracy down to 1/10 of a second. High-beat movements were rare in 1969, and they’re rare today. Even Rolex slowed the El Primero down to 28,800vph for the Daytona.

With more beats per hour comes increased wear and tear on the escapement. To counter this, Zenith developed special lubricants that would keep the El Primero on the wrist more often than in a watchmaker’s hands. The other critical deficiency of a “quick tick”, though, is the tendency to lose power faster than normal. Zenith made the solution look simple: they used a mainspring capable of a 50-hour power reserve. These are the sorts of decisions that have proven Zenith is unwilling to cut corners, and they’ve paid off in spades (and by spades, we mean millions of dollars and a cult following).

This watch is a men's Zenith De Luca El Primero Automatic Date Chronograph " Panda" Dial made in 1988-89 which is one of the most iconic timepieces.

The model range is actually called “Les Classiques”. However Zenith changed the name. of this model. "De Luca" is actually a nickname. Zenith named these watches, “De Luca” in honour of the chief sales agent for Italy that time, called the Luca, that created the watch with the bicoloured face. Beginning in 1988, this was Zenith's first major new series after the resurrection of the El Primero.

All Zenith De Luca models include:

Steel case with uni-directional rotating black bezel
Case diameter 40mm
Strap width 22mm
Black/white and white/black clock face combination
Recessed sub dials
Chronograph movement El Primero
The 01.0043.400 model include also a perspex crystal, crown and pusher not screwed

The original series ("De Luca I") is characterized by 40mm steel cases with uni-directional rotating black diver's bezel (matte finish until the 4th generation when it became glossy), and either black or white dials with contrasting sub-dials.

At the heart of this chronograph is a legendary automatic high grade movement calibre 400, a successor of the famous caliber 3019PHC. This caliber runs on 31 jewels, which makes it run great and all functions work as expected.

This model features a black and white "Panda" original dial with a triple register and tachymetre scale, date between 4 and 5 o'clock, signed "Zenith", "Automatic", " Swiss Made". A small seconds dial, 30-minute recorder and 12-hour recorder grace the dial along with a central chronograph hand, also luminous hours and minutes hands.

The black uni-directional rotating glossy black steel bezel, is mounted on a 40 mm (1,57 inch) stainless steel case excluding the crown and 47mm (1,85 inch) from lug to lug is in like new condition, with minor surface scratches that are to be expected on any watch of this age.

The back lid signed "Zenith", "Stainless Steel", "Water Resistant 100M", "Swiss Made", "01.0040.400".

The winding crown is completely original and signed with Zenith logo.

The watch is presented on original new stainless steel bracelet around 22cm (8,66 inch) with stainless steel clasp signed with the “Zenith” logo.

Please see photos.

Brand : Zenith
Model : De Luca El Primero Automatic Date Chronograph "Panda" Dial Men's Watch 01.0043.400
Reference : 01.0043.400
Diameter : 40 mm (1,57 inch) excluding the crown
Movement : Automatic calibre 400, 31 jewels
Functions: Hours, minutes, date, small seconds, chronograph, tachymetre.
Case Material : Steel, very good condition
Bracelet material : Original leather bracelet around 22cm with stainless steel buckle signed "Zenith" with the “Zenith” logo
Glass : perspex crystal
Dial : white and black " Panda" dial
Crown: Original Zenith
Other specifications: guarantee card non dated delivered to S.N S.R.L via dei Castani 28/b
It is a perfect addition to your watch collection.

The watch will be carefully packed and shipped highly insured. Item will be shipped from our office in Amsterdam. Watches are sold as-is, and there is no guarantee of to be waterproof or movement accuracy, due to the nature of vintage watches. Please view all the pictures carefully as they form an integral part of the description. Any defects not mentioned but visible in the pictures will be considered as described.

Any questions, please ask. Good luck and thank you for looking.

As with all of our pre-owned watches this watch comes with a full 12 month WRIST ICONS warranty that will be invoked from the day of purchase. Please check our website to have a look at the high resolution pictures on a macro level. You will see every detail at its best.

Price:€6.500 inc worldwide shipping
More info, please visit:

Viewings can be arranged at our office by appointment.

I have sold some pieces through Chronotrader (check Wouter and Audemars) several references on Omega Forum and only positive feed-back on chrono24.

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