fter making its debut at the boutiques in Ginza and Shanghai, Zenith’s Icons thematic capsule collections of historically significant vintage watches sourced, restored and certified by the brand are coming to its online boutiques in Europe, Japan and USA. And for its digital introduction, Zenith is offering an exceptionally pristine example of its most coveted early El Primero models in gold, the G381.
First unveiled earlier this week at Vivatech 2021 in Paris, where Zenith joined LVMH and other group Maisons at what is considered Europe’s biggest startup and tech event at showcasing their latest innovations, the G381 symbolizes the Zenith Manufacture’s approach towards achieving a circular economy.
Among speakers from the best tech brands and innovative startups, Zenith CEO Julien Tornare talked about how the Manufacture has the unique capacity to restore older products and keep them operating in perpetuity, in line with the core theme of this year’s Vivatech expo, sustainability. Using past and present resources, components and know-how, watches from the past are given a second, certified life through Zenith Icons. Its latest addition, available for the first time exclusively on the Zenith online boutique, is perhaps its most exceptional yet.
An important reference in El Primero lore, the G381 was among the very first gold models designed to house the El Primero in 1969 and is considered the gold counterpart of the iconic A386. It had the same round case, decimal and tachymeter scales, and of course the earliest iteration of the seminal El Primero automatic high-frequency chronograph movement. A highly successful model for Zenith at the same time, it was reproduced in multiple small batches from 1969 to 1972. In total, only 1’000 pieces were ever made.
What makes this unique G381 truly remarkable is its provenance and exceptionally well-preserved condition. Made in 1971 and sold at Zenith’s retailer in the southern Italian region of Naples in 1972, this G381 was never worn. When the Zenith Manufacture’s Heritage Department first discovered this piece, it was surprised to learn that the painting protection on the case back was still pristine, and even the wax seal and hangtags on the bracelet remained intact.
Upon inspecting the movement, there were absolutely no blemishes or wear on the moving parts. From the time of its purchase until its return to the Zenith Manufacture 50 years later, this G381 had never seen the light of day and remains in a truly “untouched” condition.
This magnificently preserved El Primero treasure is the first watch to be offered on the Zenith Icons online boutique on June 21, allowing watch enthusiasts everywhere the chance to own a precious piece of watchmaking history.