Published on October 4th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
Special Edition Zenith Watch Created for Range Rover SVAutobiography Dynamic
The year 1969 saw the creation of two of the most important landmarks in the parallel worlds of car design and watch making: Range Rover and Zenith.
In England, a team at the Rover car company led by Charles Spencer King first put pen to paper to create a vehicle that combined the off-road capabilities of a Land Rover with the comfort of the best-appointed saloon – the result of which was dubbed ‘Velar’ at the development stage before finally being given a name that has since come to be recognised the world over: Range Rover.
On January 10, 1969 meanwhile, the Swiss manufacturer presented a fully working prototype of the world’s first self-winding chronograph movement, which it called the famous
El Primero chronograph movement, or ‘the first’. Capable of recording elapsed times down to one-tenth of a second thanks to its ‘high-beat’ oscillator, it was the most accurate wrist chronograph ever made.
Both the Range Rover and the El Primero continue to be recognised as class-leaders in their respective fields. The latest, fourth-generation Range Rover because it combines supreme luxury with outstanding performance and off-road capability, and the El Primero because, after 47 years, it is still the most precise, series-produced mechanical chronograph movement on the market.
These two milestones of engineering have now come together in a partnership that celebrates their mutual longevity and shared values in a special edition watch called Zenith El Primero Range Rover, which was first revealed at the unveiling of the most dynamically-capable Range Rover yet produced – the SVAutobiography Dynamic.
Each Zenith El Primero Range Rover will feature a 42mm case made from ceramised aluminium, and like the aluminium architecture of the Range Rover, combines light weight with extreme durability.
The minimalist aesthetic of the new Range Rover’s dashboard controls are similarly espoused in the clean appearance of the watch, which features a brushed, slate grey dial, three subtle but highly legible chronograph subdials and a robust winding crown paired with easy-to-operate push-pieces. Turning the watch over, meanwhile, reveals the Zenith and Range Rover names engraved discreetly on both the oscillating weight and the retaining ring for the transparent case back.
The very similar design values of the Range Rover and the Zenith El Primero have long been recognised by people who desire beautifully-designed objects, but equally want flawless function.
One such person is the British explorer Colonel John Blashford Snell who was quick to recognise the parity between the two designs when he chose to wear a Zenith El Primero chronograph while leading a team equipped with two Range Rovers to achieve the first successful crossing of the infamous Darien Gap in 1971/72 as part of the 18,000-mile Trans-America expedition.