Limited to just 250 units, the new Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow automatic chronograph (Ref. 24.2063.405/21.R515) pays homage to the legendary 1997 Rainbow Flyback that was officially supplied to the French Air Force pilots. The 1997 model stayed in production for around four years and was limited to some four thousands units, give or take. In fact, the old model proved to be so popular among true connoisseurs that even now it is often offered at around $4000 for a piece, which is obviously far from “mint” condition. Now, tell me about synchronicities.
It is not the first time that Zenith makes a watch inspired by the Rainbow. Two years ago, for example, they offered an elegant, yet sporty Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th model. This time, they decided to build the watch using a more lightweight body and new, more ahem historically accurate color scheme.
Instead of not particularly attention-grabbing stainless steel, the new watch comes in a lot more appealing black titanium-aluminum TIALUM alloy. If memory serves me well, the alloy was first used by Zenith around two years ago, when the brand introduced the El Primero Stratos Flyback TiAlum all-black watch. This new limited edition model basically takes that grim-looking body from the older watch and makes it more jovial with the new color scheme.
Besides the famous green-blue-yellow-white rim on the 30-minute chronograph counter, which is located at its rightful place at 3 o’clock, the watch also has a part of its diving scale on the TIALUM bezel with black ceramic insert painted red: just like on the historic model.
To my regret, Zenith didn’t dare to equip the watch with pilot-styled hour and minute indicators and instead replaced them with the same faceted hands we have seen millions of times in their other El Primero chronographs.
The watch is powered by their in-house Zenith El Primero 405 B automatic movement. Comprising 331 parts and featuring laconic but refined decor (including, of course, the signature star in its oscillating weight), the movement beats at an impressive speed of ten semi-oscillations per second, which not only makes that famous buzzing sound but also allows the flyback chronograph module to measure time with accuracy of up to 1/10th of a second.
As I have already noted, the brand plans to limit the ref. 24.2063.405/21.R515 to just 250 numbered pieces with all of them going exclusively to Zenith boutiques around the world. It is said to be priced at about €6500.
See also: Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Open-Heart Automatic Chronograph (Ref. 27.03.0138.940)
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow Chronograph (Ref. 24.2063.405/21.R515) specification
Movement: Automatic, caliber El Primero 405 B, in-house, 30 mm x 6.6 mm, 331 components, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 31
Movement frequency: 36,000 vph
Power reserve: 50 hours
Movement decoration: Oscillating weight with Geneve Stripes motif
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Case & Crown: TIALUM (titanium-aluminum) alloy
Bezel: Black glossy ceramic insert
Size: 45.50 mm
Case height: 14.10 mm
Hour markers: White
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black textured rubber strap with black PVD steel triple folding clasp
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides, domed