Zenith x Hodinkee

Hodinkee founder Ben Clymer took to Instagram this week to reference the first time he wore the Zenith ‘El Primero Striking Tenth’ Chronograph way back in 2011 – a limited edition watch that was described as “hacked” thanks to its El Primero caliber that allowed the seconds hand to beat faster providing 1/10th of a second accuracy. This mind-blowing watchmaking feat served as the impetus for the first Zenith x Hodinkee collaboration in 2016 – but without the ‘striking tenth’ calibre, which was put on pause for many years due to ‘reliability issues’.

“When we launched our first collaboration with Zenith, we asked if they could bring back that “Striking Tenth” caliber – but were told it simply wasn’t ready,” recalled Clymer via an Instagram post.

Fast forward to 2022, and Hodinkee has once again teamed up with Swiss watchmaking powerhouse Zenith for one incredible, extremely limited Chronomaster Original. Only this time, with the Striking Tenth caliber in tow.

“I’m always the first person to say that nobody needs watches. And certainly nobody needed the one we launched today – our second collaboration with Zenith in six years of limited editions. But I’m thrilled that enough people liked what we created to say they are all already sold out,” Clymer added.

This isn’t any ordinary watch collaboration, folks. This timepiece has so much to offer; so much so that it sold out on the Hodinkee website within hours of its release. For starters, it’s a self-winding, high-beat, three register Chronograph on a beautiful tapered steel bracelet with a date window.

And while an aesthetically-pleasing watch by all means, it’s the outfitted matte salmon opaline dial that immediately draws in the eye, providing a dynamic and warm backdrop not often seen in a watch of the modern era.

The colours for this new Chronomaster Original were chosen by the Hodinkee team, who endeavoured to push the boundaries on this collaborative timepiece. The salmon leans more towards an orange-yellow colourway as opposed to red, and the matte opaline finish allows that colour to shine without any unnecessary finishing, all while beautifully balanced with the counters in three shades of grey.

It’s safe to say this is one of the nicest Chronomaster Originals we’ve seen. But did we expect any less? This is the Chronomaster we are talking about. A watch that, when paired with the El Primero calibre, isn’t just one of the best automatic chronograph watches on the market, but one that is subtle, comfortable and extremely well-proportioned that just feels fresh. Elements it takes from its 1960 counterpart.

While inspired by the 1960’s-era aesthetic, the Chronomaster is modernised with the powerful El Primero 3600 automatic 1/10th of a second chronograph caliber – a definite watchmaking feat that will offer up to 60 hours of power reserve. It’s a modern version that pushes the iconic El Primero movement into a brand-new era.

It’s perfectly sized at 38mm, which is arguably the perfect watch size for most wrists. The tapered bracelet offers hugging ergonomics are spot on, most likely due to the lovely tapered bracelet and the angularity of the lugs.

This is one watch we’d love to have in our collection, but like all good things, don’t come easy.  The Zenith Chronomaster Original Limited Edition for Hodinkee is available as a 300-piece limited edition timepiece and retails for $13,600 via ZENITH’s online boutique.