Some watch brands are coy about going head-to-head with their authorized dealers.
Zenith is being completely upfront with its direct to consumer push via the launch of a Chronomaster Original E-Commerce edition which, as the name suggests, can only be bought at Zenith’s own online store.
Priced at $8,400, the watch is limited in distribution, but not in production.
The 38mm steel watch adopts the design of the A386 El Primero from 1969, but comes with the latest latest El Primero 3600 movement, which has a chronograph accurate to one tenth of a second and promises a power reserve of 60 hours.
Stylistically, the watch uses Zenith’s signature tri-colour dial in shades of grey and blue for the chronograph counters and the same colors are picked up in an outer scale from zero to 100 seconds and the tenths of each second.
The tri-colour theme extends to the strap, which is made of dark grey nubuck leather matching the chronograph’s minute counter at 6 o’clock of the dial, while a looped stitch is done in blue on the right side matching the chronograph’s second counter at 3 o’clock, and a light grey stitch on the left side matching the running seconds register for a subtle but remarkable nod to the most iconic Zenith dial of all.
Although the watch is available only through Zenith’s website, it is important to stress that the exclusive is not an attempt to undermine the brand’s authorized dealer network.
In an interview with WATCHPRO in May this year, Zenith CEO Julien Tornare was clear in his support for multibrand partners.
“In our industry there can be arrogance from certain brands that say they do not need retailers anymore. I do not like to hear that because in most cases it is retailers that build brands, so we should respect that. Secondly, I strongly believe that clients still want a multibrand experience. That is my philosophy and I shout it loud and clear to our retailers. We will not shoot them in the leg, no way,” he assured.