Zenith. 18k Pink Gold Chronograph Wristwatch
Case No: 830xxx
Cal. 156 D mechanical jeweled movement, silvered matte dial, applied baton numerals and Arabic 12 and 6, dauphine hands, outer tachometer scale in blue, two engine-turned subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 45 minute register, circular case, Zenith star crown, two rectangular chronograph buttons in the band, snap on case back, case, dial, and movement signed.
Condition: NOS, with light surface shop wear
Zenith and chronographs are often associated with the El Primero movement, but there is another side to the storied watch manufacturer and that particular complication. Zenith was founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot, but did not officially adopt the brand name Zenith until 1911. Their first pocket chronograph being produced in 1899. However, the demand for Zenith watches was not as great as other brands, so the manufacture often purchased outside calibers, especially in the 1940’s and 50’s for their wrist chronographs.
Martel Watch Company was founded in 1911, and starting in the 1930’s was the supplier of chronograph movements for Zenith, as well as Universal Geneve. Zenith named the Martel chronograph movements based on the size. As they were produced in 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 lignes, they were subsequently named Cal. 122, 136, 146, 156, and 166. Each was given a letter D or H to indicate the number of registers (D for two, H for 3, the third register being an hour counter).
From the 1940’s to the mid-1950’s, Zenith used chronograph movement supplied by other manufacturers in addition to those supplied by Martel. In 1960, Zenith acquired Martel and would go on to use their chronograph production capabilities to work on creating an automatic chronograph movement. Their efforts culminated in 1969 with the announcement of a working prototype of an automatic chronograph – the El Primero.
The present watch is a fine example of a 1950’s Zenith chronograph with a Martel movement. Containing the caliber 156 D, it is one of the largest movements Zenith used for their chronograph. Measuring 37mm, the case was large for the time but extremely wearable in modern times. In excellent overall condition - with sharp case facets, original star crown, and a beautifully preserved dial with bright blue tachometer scale, the present watch is an excellent opportunity to collect a wearable complicated vintage timepiece.