Prototype designer watch sold at auction

First published: 18-05-2012

A prototype of the rare 1970 Zenith El Primero designer watch went under the hammer at a Christie's sale in Geneva this week.

The successful bidder was none other than the watch manufacturer itself, no doubt keen to get its hands on one of the only 25 prototypes ever made for the watch.

It intends to keep the timepiece in its museum collection, winning the watch with a bid of 37,500 Swiss francs.

What makes this watch particularly special is that it features the 3019 PHC automatic calibre, which was the first automatic chronograph to be used in watches, and displayed a number of functions such as the day, month, date and moon phase.

At the auction, Christie's said: " The present 'El Primero' is a most attractive prototype from 1970. Scholarship stipulates that only 25 such watches were ever made.

"Still retaining its factory case finish and the original Gay Freres steel bracelet, it is not only a great addition to any Zenith or chronograph collection but also a fantastic watch to wear."

The stainless-steel, tonneau-shaped wristwatch, also sports 31 jewels and a light grey dial and is recognisable thanks to the distinctive star-shaped hour marks positioned at two and ten o'clock.

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