The collaboration between Hodinkee and Zenith is not new. The duo had come out with a limited edition called El Primero Original 1969 For Hodinkee, with only twenty-five watches. The prominent feature on the slate grey sunburst dial, was the logo of Hodinkee, right below the twelve o’clock marker.
This collaboration saw the design cues borrowed from the mid-60s reference A271. Even the 38mm stainless-steel case was the same as the original A386 from 1969. With a COSC chronometer-certified El Primero caliber under the hood, this watch was much liked by all.
Keeping up with the vintage cues, this time around the Zenith and Hodinkee collaboration seems to be just limited to exclusive selling rights. I say this because, very prominently, the Hodinkee branding is missing on the dial. And the fifty watches of this Limited Edition Zenith El Primero Revival G381 can be bought only via the Hodinkee store.
Fifty Years of El Primero
The Zenith El Primero Revival G381 is not the first commemorative watch that Zenith has released. We recently saw the new Zenith El Primero Revival A384 where the redesigning team worked with the watchmakers, product development managers and significant people who were present when the watch was first made.
The purpose was to get the redesign without losing the essence of the original. More in the lines of preserving a legacy. In my opinion, Zenith has achieved it very well with this new timepiece as well. When you look at the side-by-side comparison between the original and the new dials, you can see what a smart improvisation Zenith has accomplished.
Very noticeable is the bezel – the original is much thinner and barely a ring surrounding the dial, while the new Zenith El Primero Revival G381 is modern and a tad wider. The numerals, markers and indices have got some fine-tuning to them, but in my eyes it’s the hours and the minutes hands that have an impactful change.
This year is the ‘Fifty Years’ of the El Primero and since there are only fifty pieces of this exclusive watch up for grabs worldwide, it only makes sense to include a fifty-year warranty to the mix. Wait – I turn fifty in four years, will that qualify for a free El Primero? Bad joke – but you get the drift.
The Roots of the G381
The G381 made its debut around the same time as the A386. It was a time when almost all creditable brands worth their salt, were racing to debut their automatic chronograph to the world. The yellow gold G381 is considered to be rarer that the than the steel A386. It sported a black-on-white panda dial and gave us the El Primero technology in dimension that was unique from the steel-cased the A386.
This new automatic high-speed chronograph, relives the magic that we saw with the golden era of sporty vintage chronographs. Only seven hundred of the original G381 were made, so the fifty pieces we see with Hodinkee are super special and will highly desirable amongst collectors.
The Limited Edition Zenith El Primero Revival G381 features 18k yellow gold and stays true to the original design cues. It hosts a 38mm wide case that houses a lacquer dial along with non-overlapping black panda sub-dials. Like I mentioned earlier, there are subtle changes made to the new version, and they seem like a logical upgrade.
For example, the smaller size of the crown and chronograph pushers are very much aligned with the modern design cues. Under the hood of the new watch is a Zenith caliber 400 El Primero chronograph movement, which is a modern take on the movement that powered the original G381 in 1969.
The new watch has a power reserve of 50 hours and you can admire the movement via the sapphire display caseback. The specs of the watch include a striking red seconds hand that cuts across the gold, black and white theme. You can pick one of the fifty watches for $19,200.