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Beyond being the most highly regarded watch blog, Hodinkee is also arguably one of the best places to buy watches online. Their collection is curated yet expansive, running the gamut from brand new timepieces to vintage and pre-owned. And there are some watches you won’t find anywhere else, too. That’s because Hodinkee collaborates with many watchmakers on unique timepieces informed by a love of horology and history. For their latest collaboration, Hodinkee linked up with Swiss watchmaker Zenith on a revamped version of the brand’s chronograph, the El Primero. The watch is available today, in a limited run of 300 pieces, and retails for $9,500.
The standout feature of this updated model is the salmon-colored dial, picked out by the Hodinkee team, giving a warm contrast to the stainless steel case and bracelet. The subdials are varied shades of gray, and a date window is subtly tucked into the 4:30 position.
Though Zenith isn’t among the most well-known Swiss watchmakers among casual watch fans, it’s a widely respected brand with a long pedigree that stretches back to 1865. The El Primero came on to the scene about a century later, and was the first automatic chronograph.
As for the movement, the watch uses Zenith’s El Primero Automatic Caliber 3600, which has been subtly refined since the early days of the El Primero to make for a watch that’s smoother and more reliable. The transparent case back allows you to appreciate the refined movement. Zenith’s movements are one of the most legendary aspects of the brand. Zenith makes its movements in-house, and it makes movements for other brands, too. For over a decade, the Rolex Daytona was powered by Zenith’s El Primero movement, before switching to its own movement.
The Zenith Chronomaster Original Limited Edition for Hodinkee is available in a limited run of 300 pieces and goes for $9,500. That’s a nosebleed-inducing number for the average watch lover but barely qualifies as entry-level in the world of expensive watches.
What We Love About Hodinkee
Hodinkee is undoubtedly authoritative when it comes to wristwatches, but they’re able to be informative without an air of pretentiousness. In fact, the name itself was picked as a way to take self-seriousness out of horology. As founder Ben Clymer told the New York Times in 2014 “I Googled “wristwatch” in about 25 different languages and picked the goofiest.” The origin is “hodinky”, a Czech word.
They take that same democratic approach to their collaborations, too, showing a love for watches of all kinds. Hodinkee has collaborated with Longines and IWC, but also affordable brands like Timex and Swatch. The Zenith Chronomaster is the second collaboration between Hodinkee and Zenith, and, at nearly 10 grand, it certainly occupies the luxury category. But it’s the kind of retro-but-forward-thinking watch that transcends trends.