zenith heritage cronometro tipo cp2 035

History as legacy: Zenith reissues the famous 1960s A. Cairelli model

To the great delight of collectors, The Manufacture from Le Locle has revived its old tradition of military watches with the new Zenith Heritage Cronometro TIPO CP-2: the pinnacle of the neo-vintage concept.

By Benjamin Teisseire

In the 1960s, Zenith supplied the Italian army with 2,500 pieces of the TIPO CP-2 military chronograph through its Roman distributor, A. Cairelli. Today, these models are still prized possessions of collectors. The reinterpreted version sticks to the aura and aesthetics that brought fame to the watch and perfectly fits to the neo-retro image conveyed by the brand. It features all the distinguishing codes of the original model in a modernized version.

Simplicity and readability

The large 43 x 12.85-mm case offers optimum readability, which was essential for military pilot watches at the time. The chronograph's 30-minute counter sub-dial at 3 o'clock and small seconds counter at 9 o'clock reveal information subtly-yet-effectively with the help of baton hands. 

The central chronograph seconds hand, the hour and minute hands and the clear and accurate Arabic numerals are rhodium-plated, facetted and coated with SLN C1 SuperLuminova to enable perfect readability. Furthermore, the design of the chronograph seconds hand is also a reminder of the piece’s connection to the air force.

Adopting a modern style

The military-type simplicity of the watch is nonetheless enhanced by its elegant style thanks to its deep black dial, the mirror polish of its elegantly curved steel case and the delicacy of its modern and comfortable curved lugs. The piece features high-end finishes thanks to its bidirectional turning bezel. Inside it an aluminum disc is affixed with, for example, the numbers 15, 30 and 45. The piece’s subtlety is seen in both its camber and in the smoothness of its rotations. It is easily worn both in cockpits and for the gala dinners that usually take place after missions have been completed.

The reliability of an icon at the service of another

Water resistant to 10 ATM, the Zenith Heritage Cronometro TIPO CP-2 hides another of the brand's celebrities under its screwed back – the famous in-house self-winding column-wheel Chronograph Zenith El Primero 4069. Oscillating at 5 Hz (36,000 vibrations per hour), it provides its legendary reliability with a 50-hour power reserve, which is significantly more than what the original offered. 

It would be a real pleasure to be able to admire the movement's 254 components and 35 rubies and stare in wonder at the complexity of the column-wheel or the "côtes de Genève" finish gracing its oscillating mass. Fortunately, the iconic Cronometro TIPO CP-2 engraving on the covered caseback lessens the slight feeling of disappointment that is on the other hand largely offset by the fact that purists agree that anything else would have been a faux pas.

A watch for secret agents too

Undeniably military and yet also astonishingly elegant, this is undoubtedly a watch for men. That is, real men; those who make us think of famous, athletic and dauntless spies that assume their masculinity without lacking social skills, or even a subtle refined taste. Fans of stylish sports watches will certainly actively seek to own one of the 1,000 pieces of this limited edition. 

The triple steel deployment buckle attached to the black calfskin strap with rubber lining will ultimately convince everyone of the flawless quality of this successfully reinterpreted piece, which is available for under €8,000.

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