Zenith El Primero for Range Rover Special Edition
Explosive, creative and entirely natural: such is the long-term partnership commitment undertaken between Zenith and Land Rover. Two names, two legends with entwined destinies. In 1969, Zenith unveiled its fabled El Primero chronograph. That same year, British car manufacturer Land Rover introduces the prototype of the very first luxury off-road vehicle: the iconic Range Rover, which hit the markets in 1970. Fired by the same pioneering spirit and the same ability to explore new horizons, these two original creations achieved legendary status. Half a century later, their inventors are entering into an exceptional long-term partnership inaugurated by an El Primero Range Rover Special Edition.
Yesterday’s trailblazers, today’s archetypes. The El Primero and Range Rover models are trademarks. Cornerstones of their respective fields. Desirable. Luxurious. True pioneers. Their brilliant creators the watch Manufacture Zenith and Land Rover, the world leader in the realm of luxury sports utility vehicles are uniting in a partnership to celebrate two legendary creations that have made an indelible imprint on watchmaking and automotive history. To launch this partnership, Zenith is presenting a first exclusive El Primero Range Rover Special Edition, a distinctive timepiece that is equally at home on city streets as it is on rugged is terrain.
Aldo Magada, President and CEO of Zenith: “The match between our two brands is very strong. Zenith and Range Rover are both pioneers in our respective industries, and we both create unique, innovative products. Through timeless design, both brands express authentic luxury. The Zenith team is very excited to start this long-term partnership with Range Rover, another superb brand and kindred spirit.”
Richard Orlinski, worldwide top-ranked French artist in 2015 and sculptor of timeless living artworks, was a star guest at the September 29th event marking the launch of the partnership in Paris. During the evening, he stunned spectators by creating a unique work of art in real time. The result was an emotion-provoking blend of the Zenith and Land Rover universes, while embodying his entirely distinctive style.
A shared destiny
Often copied, rarely equalled. Zenith and Land Rover are natural front-runners. Since 1969, which witnessed milestone launches by both companies, their destinies have been entwined. That was the year the Swiss Manufacture presented the famous El Primero chronograph movement, the most accurate in the world; and the British carmaker Land Rover unleashed the first luxury four-wheel drive, the iconic Range Rover. Three years later, the two adventurers crossed paths when explorer John Blashford-Snell crossed the Darién Gap an inhospitable marshland and virgin forest area on the border between Colombia and Panama at the wheel of an early Range Rover and with an El Primero chronograph on his wrist. During this Trans-Americas expedition, both models demonstrated their extreme manoeuvrability, their durability and their exceptional all-terrain capabilities.
Since this epic shared adventure, almost 50 years of innovation and fine-tuning have raised the original concepts that were at once simple, sturdy and ingenious to the rank of timeless icons that have lost nothing of their authenticity.
The world’s first luxury sports utility vehicle
Founded by Rover and owned by Tata Motors since 2008, Land Rover is a British car manufacturer specialising in sports utility and all-terrain vehicles. Initially known for its 4×4 expertise, this pioneer has been making robustly built cars capable of performing in the harshest environments since 1948. In 1969, the British brand changed the course of history by producing an all-terrain vehicle of an entirely new genre: the luxurious and intrepid Range Rover. Equipped with a permanent four-wheel drive system, coil springs and a 3.5 L V8 petrol engine, the world’s first luxury 4×4 boasted incomparable on- and off-road performance. In addition, its pragmatic design earned immediate and widespread acclaim.
An iconic silhouette, charisma, technical refinement and remarkable performance: in addition to their birth year (1969), the iconic El Primero and Range Rover share a number of other key assets. To celebrate their partnership, Manufacture Zenith is unveiling an El Primero Range Rover special edition.
In tribute to the first luxury SUV, its brushed grey dial bears the inscription “Zenith Range Rover”. The hands and hour-markers are rhodiumed and luminescent. Beating at the dynamic pace of a legendary movement, the El Primero Range Rover chronograph features a streamlined, subtly curved and inimitable design. Its high-frequency mechanism is clothed in the aluminium ‘bodywork’ a nod to the Range Rover chassis of its 42 mm-diameter matt black ceramised case. Water-resistant to 100 metres and topped by a cambered sapphire crystal, it is equipped with a ratcheted crown and black round pushers. The sapphire caseback bearing the “El Primero Range Rover / Special Edition” engraving reveals an oscillating weight personalised with the Zenith and Range Rover logos.
“The Zenith El Primero is one of the most distinctive watch designs ever produced, in my view. Therefore it has been imperative to honour and respect this iconic design. It had to remain unmistakably an El Primero, but allude to Range Rover DNA.” says Gerry McGovern, Land Rover Chief Design Officer: “We looked to the reductive nature of a modern Range Rover interior and the Zenith team translated that into the dial of the watch, keeping it simple and unfussy. The matt finish simultaneously suggests understatement, sophistication and durability – like a Range Rover, it’s an object you look at and immediately feel an emotional connection.” adds McGovern.
Throbbing at the heart of this special Range Rover edition is the automatic El Primero 400B movement. With its fast-paced beat of 36,000 vibrations per hour enabling it to power a tenth of a second display, and its integrated column-wheel construction, this El Primero ‘engine’ is a worthy heir to the world’s most accurate series-made chronograph developed by Zenith in 1969. This 326-part movement drives central hours and minutes hands, along with chronograph and tachymeter functions, while ensuring an over 50-hour power reserve.
Whether on the wrist of an intrepid explorer or an elegant gentleman, the El Primero Range Rover Special Edition exudes an inimitably chic aura, enhanced by a rubber strap coated with ivory-toned perforated calfskin or blue perforated calfskin. This leather is the same high quality hide used on Range Rovers and is secured by a triple folding clasp in DLC-treated titanium.
A watch to embrace the legend.