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Thread: REVIEW: Zenith Chronomaster Sport 03.3100.3600/21.M3100.T3

  1. #1
    Grand Master MartynJC (UK)'s Avatar
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    REVIEW: Zenith Chronomaster Sport 03.3100.3600/21.M3100.T3

    ZENITH CHRONOMASTER EL PRIMERO SPORT - 41 MM - EL PRIMERO MVT - AUTOMATIC CHRONOGRAPH - STEEL - BLACK DIAL - STEEL STRAP - MOVEMENT JEWELS : 35



    This watch was purchased direct from the e-boutique. It appeared on the market in Feb 2021 with many reviews and previews on all major watch media channels / Vloggers / YouTubers etc. Currently is is difficult to purchase from ADs and even on Chrono24. Maybe this is a marketing decision from Zenith (and follows other brands like Breitling that have had watches available online but apparently sold out on the high street) to attempt to drive consumers to e-Boutique sales or it could be Zenith were caught by surprise and quickly ran out of stock. Anyway I do think Zenith are onto a winner with this watch. I wish them well as a brand.

    Movement
    The stand out quality for me is the movement. It is the newly developed caliber 3600 an upgrade to the 400B. It has an improved power train giving it 60h power reserve (up from 50h). And use of silicon parts to negate the need for lubricant for a longer service interval. The 3600 has less number of components compared to the 400

    Its chronograph hand rotates every 10 seconds which, along with the ceramic bezel with 10th second markers all round the circumference, means the operator can resolve measurements to 1/10th of a second with ease. Ok, human reactions are at best 1/3rd second - however most digital chronometers and the Zenith Defy resolve to 1/100ths of a second so resolving to 1/10th is a fun and rather unique selling point.

    I have heard dissent amongst the TZ brethren of using the main drive to power the 1/10th second chronometer hand. Looking at the exposed column wheel it appears to be silicon (?) certainly blued in colour along with some of the screw heads. It's clever design means even though it is a horizontal clutch mechanism the second hand when stopped hits the 1/10th second markers all the way round as shown on the bezel and rehaut and also resets exactly to 12 on return. Zenith certainly know how to make a chronograph movement.



    The 3600 movement operation is more like the industry standard (unlike the 400B which was the reverse): namely the 3600 crown pulled out position 1 is a quick (and I mean quick aka Rolex quick) set date position; position 2 now hacks the sub-dial second hand and is for setting the hour and minute hands.

    There is the standard warnings in the manual to avoid setting the date between 8pm and 3am and wind the minute / hour hands forward to set the time.

    Comparing the Zenith chronograph hand to a 'standard' chronograph having the hand completing one cycle every minute - the standard chrono looks positively pedestrian.

    Here are comparison shots to another chronograph - the Omega's 1869. I let the reader find the differences





    Here is a short video showing the chronograph mechanism in use:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMeL1o9EkKI

    Case shape and design.
    Harmonious. I like this watches case design. It is has a combination of highly polished sides and flanges and brushed lugs. The lugs curve down to hug the wrist. They are short and for me this means a very comfortable fit.

    The case measures 40.5mm diameter, 13.8mm-thick, and has a lug-to-lug across the case of around 46.6mm - my measurements. These match closely with other published figures. Interestingly (along with other manufacturers that quote 41mm) case sizes are actually just under the quoted size.



    For me a lug-lug anything under 50mm works for me, whatever the stated case diameter as this determines if the watch will 'overhang' my wrist or not. I just got rid of one watch as it was approaching this size. And it is a personal thing and each of us is different in wrist profile and width.



    Pushers and crown.
    The pushers are very positive. The take some pressure to engage with a "snap", typical of El Primero movements and no suprise. The crown has the Zenith symbol on it and turns smoothly with some resistance as the mainspring winds up. A clutch protects against over winding. It is not a screw down crown - so no need to worry about crossed threading.





    This model is graded 100m wrt without screw down crown / pushers. So as long as the gaskets have been checked (have a water resist check at the beginning of the season) - this should be a watch for water sport and land sports - living up to its name.

    Bracelet
    There has been some contention about the bracelet. I don't have a problem with it.



    Fit and Function:
    Actually as far as function goes - to hold the watch on safely and comfortably. This bracelet is very comfortable indeed. When wearing I sometimes can't feel I am wearing the watch and on bracelet the balance super. I have had in on my wrist 24x7 except in the shower (as I don't want to get soap and gunk in the bracelet - even though it is 100m wrt)

    Form:
    It does not have a quick change sizing option on the clasp, but it DOES have effective micro adjustment holes with five holes spanning more than one link width. You need two screwdrivers to remove the screw-pins - one is a screw head into the the long pin spanning the links. This is not too difficult to do with the right sized screwdrivers.

    Polished centre links may not to be to everyones taste. But they match the highly polished case parts and dial accents to make a cohesive whole. Being standard 20mm case width there are numerous alternatives for NATO or strap options. I may invest in the separate rubber backed case for this watch but this is not available until April 2021.

    The clasp is solidly made with fold over retainer stamped with the Zenith star (brushed) insignia on the highly polished section. It is not the most refined in the market but as I said is very functional if not luxurious. Another famous watch brand seems to have got that covered - in terms of the luxury department.



    It's design is somewhat a nod to Gay Fréres but not with the open (hair pulling) gaps between the links. There are polished side chamfers to the links to avoid hard edges.

    Dial
    As WIS this is what we look at most - we can change straps, we can gaze at the case back only when we have the watch off our wrists, but most of the time we are looking at the watch dial. This watch comes in two variants a white dial and a black dial. I may add the white dial to my collection at some point but for now I have the black dial. It is very legible. Each indices is marked with a rhodium coated faceted with black paint stripe and a small section of lume applied to the end of each marker. The hangs are rhodium plated steel inlaid with lume. The ceramic bezel is very well finished with the previously mentioned 1/0th second markers and sectioned into 10 seconds with 10 at the 12 o'clock position.

    Each of the sub-dial is sunken gauche finish. Each of the three dials is different colours. The running seconds at 9 o'clock is silver; the chronograph minutes at 6 o'clock in grey; and chronograph seconds totaliser in blue at 3 o'clock. The sub-dials just touch at their edges almost imperceptibly and the centers line up across the watch face diameter in a symmetrical way.

    The date is at 4:30pm (typical El Primero) and colour co-ordinated, so does not impose unless needed to be read.

    My black faced is black lustre finished. Over all it has a tendency to 'sparkle' which ever way the light catches it even in dim conditions. It does make me smile.



    Hope you enjoyed the read. Martyn

    A few extra pictures







    and on the wrist:



    and this is the complete set from the boutique


  2. #2
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Aug 2020
    Location
    Sheffield
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    63
    Thanks for the review, definitely some food for thought in here

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