Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10TH Tribute to Felix Baumgartner for Only Watch 2013
One word: unique. Just like a prototype, just like a planetary feat. The Le Locle brand with a gilded star will have this word on the tip of its tongue at Only Watch in Monaco in September. In the background, the shadow of its hero, Félix Baumgartner.
The rule of the game at this event aiming to support research against The Duchenne muscular dystrophy: each of the presented 33 timekeepers has to be one-of-a-kind and created in line with the cause. Under the spotlights and the auction bids of whom the world sees as passionates, it is the time of the horology firmament. And when it comes to stars, Zenith is always one step ahead.
El Primero versus more than 2333 chronometer awards
A subscriber to aeronautical feats, Zenith outstandingly launched its El Primero movement in 1969 by fixing it on the undercarriage of a Boeing 747 connecting Paris to New York, in order to prove its reliability and robustness! Extremely sophisticated and precise, it is it – or rather its evolution 4057 B – that Félix Baumgartner wore for his world record sound barrier break in 2012. It is evidently Zenith which was, for good reasons, the exclusive chronometer.
More than 2333 chronometer awards received in 150 years make Zenith, also navigation chronometer instruments constructor for military and civilian aviation, a ultimate reference. Moreover, since more than 40 years, El Primero is still the only civilian chronograph functioning on a 5 Hz frequency, that is, 10 vibrations per second. A measure of one-tenth of a second that the independent hand of the Striking 10TH model henceforth makes visible. The red seconds hand thus covers the dial, divided in 100 sections giving due respect to the natural unity of the metric system, in 10 seconds. It is this model that took off from the Russian base of Baïkonour to meet the ISS (International Space Station) 400 km higher in order to be sent into orbit in the Columbus module in December 2010.
It is an evolution with hints of revolution that joins the progressive complications of the El Primero movement by multiplying its functions.
Besides, it is by adapting the most demanding specifications of an order of the French air force in 1997 that the Stratos Flyback saw the light in 2011. A chronograph of 45.5 mm in diameter, water resistant to 100 metres and conceived to resist all: violent acceleration, extreme variation of temperature, vibrations or magnetic fields.
The only watch to break the sound barrier
At the peak of mechanical technology and sum of successive complications, the unique prototype of the watch timed at Mach 1.25 offers the dream of the quest for feat. Loyal to the graphic codes of the manufacture, it is equipped with the 3 timers of three different colours arranged in a V shape, according to the 3-6-9 spectrum on the sunburst silver dial. Case in stainless steel, anti-reflection sapphire glass, the prototype, provided with an original strap, contains the whole of the technical characteristics of the public model. However, was the back engraved with the logo of the Red Bull Stratos mission as for the whole of the series?
The lucky visitors of the exhibitions fixed from the 3rd to the 28th of September will obtain the answer before the auction sale in Monaco.
Finally, it will not be a surprise to find the calendar aperture fixed on the 28th, as it is the date on which the bids will probably go past the stratosphere.
Zenith models for Only Watch with final prices
2005: The unique piece “Grande Chronomaster XXT Tourbillon El Primero”. Men’s automatic 18 carats white gold watch with one minute tourbillon, chronograph and date sold at 90’000 €.
2007: Unique piece “Défi Extrême Stealth 1000 m”. Diver’s titanium wristwatch with a graduated turning bezel, chronograph, 30 minutes timer, indication of power reserve and partially openworked dial sold at 45’000 €.
2009: Unique piece “New vintage 1969 Chronograph”. Unique piece of the 1969 El Primero automatic chronograph version with retro colour on the 3 timers and sapphire glass with “Only Watch” engraved at the back sold at 10’000 €.
2011: Two unique models of the Captain collection: one pink gold Captain Chronograph and one steel Pilot Chronograph, the two sold at 20’000 €.