Reissues frequently run the risk of being trite or overly reductive and damaging the reputation of the original article. However, if there is one manufacture I trust to always nail a design update, it’s Zenith. They don’t replicate and they don’t get too flamboyant in their reissue efforts. More than almost any other modern watchmaker, they get it right. That has been the case with the recent revival series. However, it was the case even earlier. If you are able to wear or enjoy a larger case (same goes for 4:30 date), the design of this 2014 El Primero reissue has all the detail, watchmaking effort, and historic pedigree one could ask for.
The 1997 Rainbow El Primero was built by Zenith to the specification of the French Air Force, following the XX and YEMA Superman. The watch needed to sustain eleven G, huge pressure and temperature deviations, and be highly legible at the slightest glance. In addition, the chronograph needed to be the all-important flyback variation. That is to say, one may press the reset in while the chronograph is running and safely zero all measurements. This 2014 reissue sports the same potential, but with an in-house, column-wheel, hi-beating modern caliber. All that was then cased in a quite substantial 45mm steel cathedral. Despite the more modest 40mm of the original, Zenith opted to follow the mid 2010s trend. Depending on your disposition, this may be a faux-pas or massive pro. I’m inclined to the former, but the larger wristed of us should have quality options as well.
Although it isn’t exactly vintage, I’d still comment that this example presents very well. The case is not fucked with, its dial perfect. I don’t see scratches on the lug backs or even much in the way of surface wear. It comes on a Zenith rubber strap with its original buckle and no documentation from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this Stratos Flyback Rainbow El Primero here from Watch Garage for 3250 EUR