Launched in 1899, the Tour Auto is the oldest automotive race still running, and Zenith celebrated its roles as rally participant and official timer by launching the new El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition in Paris.
The Tour Auto event brings together vintage rally cars to participate in a multi-day series of events including circuit races, relay rallies and pack racing. The Tour kicked off on April 20 at the Grand Palais in Paris. Invited guests enjoyed the festivities among the 233 magnificent vintage rally cars lined up on the grid beneath the majestic dome.
The evening saw a series of Zenith firsts. This is the first year that the brand served as official timekeeper, the first time it participated as a competitor, and the brand unveiled a new timepiece produced specially for the event – the El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition. Zenith President and CEO Aldo Magada was on hand, as was famed stratosphere skydiver and Zenith ambassador Felix Baumgartner.
At the opening night event, Felix got behind the wheel of the white and blue 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL that he would pilot during the Tour, representing Zenith.
The evening’s final highlight included the launch of the El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition timepiece. Felix joined Aldo on the Zenith Pop Up stage for the official presentation.
The watch is equipped with the El Primero 4061 self-winding chronograph movement, and the open dial provides a view of the intricate machine beneath. A racing stripe in blue, white and red evokes the French flag and the sporting nature of the event, and the mushroom-type push-pieces have an undercut with blue for the chronograph start and red for the reset. The Tour Auto logo (on the crystal) and the watch number in the series appear on the steel case back. The El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tour Auto Edition is available in a limited edition of 500 pieces.
Just after sunrise the following morning, the cars set off.
You can check out dozens of images from the full race on the official Zenith Hub.