Here we are with one of the milestones from the legend of El Primero; Zenith El Primero Stratos.
When I look at the title of the article, I see that there are three different concepts that I should mention about. The first one of these is of course the Zenith El Primero model family. El Primero, the world's first hi-beat (36.000vph) chronograph movement, is still at the forefront of the legendary brand's locomotive product lines. The collection, perhaps among the most iconic models of sports chronograph watches, is also home to some very high-end versions of Zenith, which reveals the brand’s level in movement design.
Let's move on ... Stratos ... It's better to talk about the Zenith El Primero Flyback Rainbow before moving on to Stratos, because the roots of the timepiece we have here are based directly on that model I'm going to talk about. Back in 1997, the French Air Force determined the technical requirements of the watch to be used by their elite staff. The requested features are not modest at all; a model that can withstand pressures from 9 to 11G, continue to work flawlessly between fairly wide ranges of pressure and temperature, and should have the most legible dial to read at first look even under the toughest conditions. Zenith's answer is clear; "consider it done". Soon after, the world of watches met with the most "tactical" member of the legendary El Primero model family: Zenith El Primero Flyback Rainbow.
Today, remembered as a familiar model for almost every watch lover, especially vintage watch enthusiasts, Zenith El Primero Flyback Rainbow continues to be one of the most popular models of the auctions.
Zenith, who left behind the rough times a long time ago despite the non-stop management changes, today hosts many variants of the El Primero model family in its current product line. The Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow model, which is the base model for the timepiece we have here for review, is a brilliant re-issue model that tributes to its legendary original version from 90s.
I do not see much need to mention Zenith's talents when it comes to creating re-issue timepieces as the brand already has very successful models regarding that trend. Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow was added to the brand's product range in 2014. The model, which became one of the most talked about models of the collection especially with its resemblance with the original El Primero Rainbow model, achieved a special place among re-issue timepieces.
Let’s move on to the timepiece we have here today... I am not sure if you are familiar with the name Felix Baumgartner so let’s talk about him first. The Austrian adventurer Baumgartner had a record under sponsorship of Zenith and RedBull - the indispensable supporter of extreme actions. The young adventurer made a free fall in a special capsule from the point where the world's connection to space was the least to be reached, jumping from a height of 39 km above ground level granting him not only the world's longest free fall record, but also the title of first human being to ever break the speed of sound.
Zenith, one of the organization’s sponsors, has not neglected to design a special model for the memory of this breathtaking action that shows the possibilities when curiosity and courage come together.
The model we have here is based on the same platform as the re-issue Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow, which was added to the brand's product group in recent years. Offered in a diameter of 45.50mm, the stainless steel case is equipped with long chronograph pushers as well as an anti-glare treated scratch resistant sapphire crystal on its front face. The case back is solid stainless steel and is decorated with an embossed Stratos mission logo. Another characteristic of the model is the diver type bezel with its edge formed like crystal cut. The case is water resistant to 100 meters.
The dial lay-out and functions are also the same with the Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow as well. Designed in Tri-Compax chronograph lay-out, the dial is quite easy to read with contrasting tones. The sub-counters are accompanied with baton type hands and indices. Date display window is located at 6 o’clock.
The model is powered by the manufacture Caliber 4057 B, a modern sample of the legendary El Primero movement family. 31 jewels (326 parts) self-winding chronograph movement beats at a frequency of 36.000vph and offers 50 hours power reserve when fully wound.
The version we chose for the review has a black rubber strap featuring little crystal cut patterns that match with the sides of the bezel. Soft and comfortable strap is secured by a Zenith signed stainless steel folding clasp. There is also a leather strap version in the collection.
We would like to thank Quadran Boutique family or their utmost support and usual hospitality.