The Zenith/Movado El Primero is famous as one of the first automatic chronographs, but almost immediately after the launch, the firm was bought by the American company Zenith Radio. This firm had successfully sued Zenith for trademark infringement, thereby preventing them from selling their watches in the USA. The new owners believed that mechanical movements were obsolete and the future belonged to quartz technology. So it was decided to dispose of all the mechanical movements, and Oscar Waldan a Polish/Swiss watchmaker purchased a number of the 3019 PHF El Primero movements, these were the most complicated version, with day/date/month/moonphase complications as well as the basic three register chronograph functions.
For several years in the late 1970s and the 1980s he cased these movements in heavy gold cases purchased from the same Swiss casemakers who had made the original Zenith cases. Only a few of the dials bore his name, most were made for prestigious New York City retailers (which was where he was now based) and you can find them with Tiffany, Tourneau or Wempe on their faces. In the early 1990s he purchased the name of Ekegren from the owners of the trademark; H R Ekegren was one of the great Genevan watchmakers of the 19th century.
This is one of the later watches, with the name ‘Ekegren Genéve’ on the dial, it is white enamel finish with apertures for the day and month at the 10 and 2 positions, an aperture for the date at 4:30 and another for the phases of the moon at 6, at the top of the hour register. There is a 30 minute register at 3 and a running seconds register at the 9 position, around the extreme periphery of the dial is a register graduated for 30 pulsations. There are applied gold Arabic numerals for the hours and the hands are a similar gold finish, whilst the sweep seconds hand is bright red.
The heavy case is 18kt, with a screwed back, stepped bezel and stepped lugs, it has a lightly domed sapphire crystal and the gold winding crown is emblazoned with a stylised M, which is the Movado logo from the 1970s, matching the signed winding rotor.
The movement is the Zenith/Movado 3019PHF, with 31 jewels, Incabloc shock protection and fine adjustment for the regulator. It is signed “Movado Factories” on the rotor.
Dial is 95+%, case is 95% whilst the movement is 90+%. Please note that the watch is currently with Waldan in NYC who are performing a full service on the watch and it will come with a full year’s warranty from them.
Diameter 39.5mm; Lug to Lug 47mm; Height 13mm, it takes a 20mm strap and a black leather strap with an 18k deployant buckle is fitted.
£5,500.00 (approx. $6,500.00 US)