The 2011 Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th (ref. 03.2060.4057/69.M2060) automatic chronograph is said to be inspired by the 1997 Rainbow Flyback model that was developed exclusively for the French Air Force. Hmm, the French flyboys know a thing or two about flying with style.
Like the earlier Rainbow Flyback, the new Stratos is equipped with an El Primero automatic chronograph movement, namely the gorgeous El Primero 4057B.
Running at a terrible speed of 36,000 vibrations per hour, this beautiful caliber not only makes its signature rattling noise that you will never confuse with that of a standard 28,800 vph engine but can also measure time with an impressive accuracy of up to 1/10th of a second. Hence the name.
I am not sure about this particular version, but the El Primero 405 series of calibers are known not only for their exceptional accuracy, but they also enjoy a flawless reputation of the most reliable manufacture-made chronograph movements on the market.
Of course, their main point of attraction is the flyback function that allows you to start, stop and re-start the chronograph with a push of a single button.
Not very spectacular, the function may become very handy if you find yourself in a cockpit of a plain with its GPS and astronavigation system as dead as a yesterday’s turkey.
Although the body has retained its basic shape, you only need to steal a single glance at this beautiful timekeeper to immediately notice all the points were a skilled hand of a surgeon removed ten years of wrinkles, sagging skin and age spots.
The first of all, the watch has become slightly bigger. It is now offered in a large stainless steel case 45.5 millimeters in diameter.
Secondly, the new unidirectional rotating bezel is made not of painted steel but crafted out of virtually scratch-resistant ceramic.
Thirdly, that you may notice is the new pair of chronograph push-pieces. Sporting new shape, they protrude less from the body, drawing less attention to themselves and, at the same time, increasing the timekeeper’s ergonomics.
And the fourth modification is, of course, the completely new dial, which is now more in line with the rest of the El Primero watches.
As you can see, the new Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th now sports a pair of faceted rhodium-plated hands with thin stripes of Superluminova.
The usual Arabic numerals are replaced with rhodium-plated hour-markers also filled with the same luminous substance.
And, since the bigger case allows for more dial real estate, the date window has been transferred from its traditional position between 4 and 5 o’clock to a more visually appropriate place at 6 o’clock.
Zenith plans to offer this watch with a choice of two different straps: a black alligator leather strap with stainless steel triple folding buckle or a much more interesting metal bracelet with stainless steel triple folding buckle.
Still no info on pricing, but a timepiece powered by an in-house manufacture-made movement will certainly not be cheap. Expect an initial price tag of at least $8000 USD*.
* UPDATE ON PRICE: Whoa, the watch is going to be offered with an impressive MSRP of $10,500, but, even after such a brief introduction to this model, my “initial impressions” review score still stands at 9 stars out of possible 10.
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th (ref. 03.2060.4057/69.M2060) specification
Price: $10,500 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, caliber El Primero 4057B, 31 jewels, 326 parts, 36,000 vph, 30.00 mm in diameter, 6.60 mm in height, in-house, Swiss Made
Movement decoration: Winding rotor engraved with Cotes de Geneve motif
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Power reserve: 50 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Bezel: Black ceramic
Size: 45.50 mm
Case height: 14.10 mm
Dial: Silver, sunray finish
Hands: Rhodium-plated, faceted, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black alligator leather strap with stainless steel triple folding buckle OR Metal bracelet with stainless steel triple folding buckle
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides