More than all of the new and desirable vintage spec-ed watches that Zenith has been getting universal praise for, perhaps the one thing that the brand did for itself, that will prove to be an absolute gamechanger, is the unearthing of the many treasures that one Charles Vermot stowed away in the attic of the manufacture’s historic building, during its darkest days.

It is the single reason why today we are able to say definitively that the world’s first automatic winding chronograph movement, the 1969 El Primero was, in fact, loaded into an A384 ahead of the A386.

The A384, which as of its revival last year, has seen some of the most moving vintage spec-ed re-editions in recent memory. Not to toot our own horns, but the lore of the A384 is what led us to develop the Zenith x Revolution Chronomaster Revival Ref. A3818 “Cover Girl” earlier in February of 2020.

Zenith x Revolution Chronomaster Revival Ref. A3818 “Cover Girl” (Image © Revolution)

But it seems as though the famed attic at Zenith is yet yielding more treasures. Treasures such as the prototype watch that served as the inspiration behind the watch Zenith is announcing today: the Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”.

CEO Julien Tornare shared the story of the watch with us saying that they had found the prototype in an obscure box in one of the rooms in the attic which is just full of objects from Zenith’s past.

When found, this protype appeared to be in poor condition. The condition further suggested that the watch had been there for a very long time. It was Zenith’s head of product, and the keeper of the history of Zenith, Romain Marietta who shed light on the prototype explaining that they had uncovered something important and that a new watch should be made taking inspiration from what they had uncovered.

An instance of the prototype watch found in Zenith's attic that served as the inspiration for the Chronomaster Revival “Shadow” (Image: shop.hodinkee.com)

The prototype uncovered isn’t exactly an A384, but it’s also not a completely round case. According Julien, the treatment on the watch would’ve been “PVD in those years”. The Zenith team has since uncovered that there are about four instances of the prototype out there. They found the one in the manufacture, one is unaccounted for and the last two instances were supposedly sold off many years back.

Of the last two, the team is aware that at least one of them has been seen in the auction scene quite regularly. Most recently it was seen listed on Hodinkee’s shop, where it was sold to a client of Zenith’s.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”
Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”
Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”

Today, the Chronomaster Revival “Shadow” carries on the memory of this prototype in the form of a modern, dark, almost brutal A384 with a microblasted titanium case. The case might remind you of the earlier El Primero Revival A384 Edge of Space Limited Edition. But in the instance of the Shadow, the color on the case is a fair bit darker.

Pair that with a sheer matte-black dial, contrasting grey sub dials and stark white markings, and altogether you have yet another hit on hand for Zenith and the A384.

Close up on the dial of the Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”
Close up on case side of the of the Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”, showing off the microblasted titanium surface
Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”

This Zenith Chronomaster might be called the Shadow, but it walks in none.

Technical Specifications

Movement

El Primero 4061 Automatic, 5 Hz, with minimum of 50 hours of power reserve.

Case

Original 1969 case in microblasted titanium, 37mm.

Dial

Black with grey counters and tachymeter scale, hands and markers rhodium-plated with SuperLuminivo

Strap

Black “Cordura effect” strap and white stitching. Microblasted titanium pin buckle.

The Zenith Chronomaster Revival ‘Shadow’ has a retail price of 8400 CHF.

Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Shadow”