The last time I checked, it was still 2021. In the watch world, that means all green everything. We’ve seen green-dial timepieces from just about every brand this year, and now Zenith has joined the fun. The Chronomaster Revival “Safari” is yet another variation of the classic Zenith A384 Revival case design, but with a few flourishes to make things interesting.
The case is fashioned from titanium and then microblasted, providing both a visual and tactile texture. The watch features contrasting black subdials and patina-effected markers which could also be interpreted as playing into the safari theme. Taking green-ness to its apex is the Cordura-effect rubber strap (rubber that looks like leather) with tan stitching that matches the markers.
If a white dial chronograph with black subdials is a panda dial, can we dub this the “crocodial?” The safari theme adds some context to the color choice and the faux-patina. Without seeing it in the metal, I think this vintage effect works well with the A384 case because it, itself, is a vintage reproduction. Zenith has used microblasted titanium before on the Revival “Shadow” (a very underrated watch) and I imagine it looks equally cool here – especially when paired with what looks to be a textured matte green dial.
Having gone up-close with the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Revival Safari Liberty last year, I’m pretty familiar with the overall fit and feel of this model. At 37mm in diameter Zenith offers a conservative – if not downright small – sizing in a world where most chronos have ballooned to 42mm or larger. One of my favorite aspects of this model range is the dial design. The printing of both the text and numerals all appear as if they’re hand-painted – a nice touch. The date window here is green, matching the dial and preserving the overall design symmetry. And lest anyone protest the date location at 4:30, it’s actually historically accurate to vintage Zenith Chornomasters in the A384 case style. Taking things home is the El Primero 400 Automatic column-wheel chronograph caliber – a serious value-add.
Within Zenith’s modern El Primero chronograph lineup, releases largely come in one of two flavors. Either the watch in question is a painstakingly accurate recreation of an early reference from the El Primero’s 52-year history, or it instead opts for an avant-garde and trendy modernist look. Rarely, however, do these two sides of the El Primero family tree interact. For its latest release, Zenith offers up one of the few contemporary El Primero models to bridge this stylistic gap, offering a classic 1969 design with materials and a colorway that feels right at home with contemporary styles. The new Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Revival Safari offers an intriguing blend of old and new cues that gives the familiar A384 El Primero design a strikingly different personality.
The 37mm case of the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Revival Safari follows the same angular tonneau formula as the original 1969 El Primero A384 but updates this simple form with micro-blasted titanium. This darker matte material gives the compact case a more substantial presence in images while giving this design a clearer visual link to the more modern Defy 21 El Primero series. Outside of the new material and finish, this case should be familiar to fans of the brand, with its flat bezel-less case top, angular wedge lugs, and piston pushers. The caseback features a sapphire display window, and the brand rates the Chronomaster Revival Safari for a somewhat underwhelming 50 meters of water resistance.
Like the case, the dial of the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Revival Safari blends classic and contemporary elements into an alluring cocktail of design. It’s no secret that green is the color of the moment in luxury watchmaking, and Zenith coats the vintage-style dial in a heavily textured matte pine shade that complements the khaki lume fill handsomely in initial images. The El Primero’s signature cutout dare window at 4:30 also uses the same tone, allowing this functional element to fade into the background and minimize disruption to the dial’s visual flow. Zenith contrasts this deep green tone with simple black for the outer tachymeter scale and subdials for a masculine low-contrast panda look. While the colorway may be new, the rest of the dial design is traditional El Primero, with faceted applied indices, striped baton hands, and a deep two-layer stepped effect for the subdials.
The movement inside the Zenith El Primero Chronomaster Revival Safari is likewise a familiar face: the in-house El Primero 400 automatic chronograph movement. The El Primero 400 is a staple of Zenith’s chronograph offerings, sporting a 50-hour power reserve at the line’s signature smooth 36,000 bph beat rate along with column-wheel chronograph actuation. Zenith accentuates the new colorway and character of the El Primero Chronomaster Revival Safari with a tough khaki green strap in cordura-effect rubber.