Zenith just released their latest El Primero re-issue, the A385 Revival! This new watch, like the A384 and A386, is not merely a nod to Zenith’s legendary past, but a faithful reintroduction of it. Consequently, the A385 Revival is virtually identical to the original A385, and that’s a good thing.
Back in 1969, the new El Primero movement, still one of the most beloved movements in production today, debuted in three watches. One of them, the A386, has become something of the template for most future El Primeros and is today seen as sort of the “default” version, but originally the A384, and this A385, shared the spotlight as a triumvirate. The A384 Revival renewed interest in these “other” two El Primeros, so it’s great to see Zenith expanding on them.
While the A384 and A385 share the same funky 37mm case, which I personally adore, the A385 is the more subtle of the two (and certainly the most discreet of the original three). The lovely brown gradient dial adds a dash of dressiness to it, and that utterly reasonable case size makes this perhaps the best everyday reissue of the El Primero yet, although the original A384 Revival is also a good candidate for an everyday chronograph.
It’s available with either a leather strap or the famous ladder bracelet designed by Gay Frères, but personally I’d take it on the strap which further dresses it up a bit. I think the Liberty LE remains my favorite of the El Primero reissues, owing entirely to its color scheme, but this A385 is a terrific, and far more low-key, alternative that is extremely versatile. It’s also the most nostalgic of the El Primero Revival models, thanks to that gradient dial.
The A385 Revival on leather is $7,700 while I’m still waiting on the official price in USD for the bracelet version (it shouldn’t be much more). You can learn more about the A385 on bracelet here, or click here to see more of the A385 on leather.