Angus Davies reviews the Zenith Christophe Colomb Equation du Temps, a watch that received the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, 1st prize in the “Complicated Watch Category”.
Established in 1865 Zenith has been engaged in the production of all types of watches over the years. Its primary association with the the El Primero Calibre which is quite remarkable. It has a high oscillation frequency of 36,000 vph (5hz), allowing for measurement of time accurate to 1/10th of a second. The calibre of the Christophe Colomb Equation du Temps is based on the same high frequency concept but also counters the effects of gravity which interfere with the measurement of true time. Its groundbreaking achievement of liberation from gravity, its risk taking in creating such a high frequency has brought its reward in this honour resulting in the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, 1st prize in “Complicated Watch Category”. Inspired by the legendary marine chronometer instruments it outperforms many Tourbillon and Gyrotourbillons.
It is a case of who dares wins and Zenith dared.
The new President Jean-Frédéric Dufour accepted the accolade. Deservedly. It presents a visualisation of the Earth’s rotation to the entranced wearer and is ground-breaking.
However, whilst the technology and scientific innovation are remarkable, Zenith has also created a timepiece of great beauty. The visual appeal is high. Its gyroscopic system, housed in a glass dome, reminiscent of a compass housed in its binnacle is fascinating and the exploration of new worlds and wonders is reflected in the choice of name.
It might be anticipated that the domed reverse would prevent the watch resting snugly and comfortably against the wrist but that is not the case. It sits there caressing it, a perfect fit.
Oh you Beauty !
Presented in 18 ct. white or rose gold case the silver dial is a joy. There is a lot happening on the face: the hours and minutes, the power reserve and the small seconds display as well as the ZERO-G Giroscopic module and yet nothing distracts from the clean lines, the subtlety of detail. It is perfection.
The hours and minutes are shown in the upper half of the face at 12.00 o’clock. Clean lines, black lacquered roman numerals, blued hands are understated but appealing. There is a simple rail-track motif around the outer circumference. The perimeter is smooth, the inner one, engraved. The simple stating of the ZENITH name and star adds strength and clarions its identity.
At 3 o’clock the power reserve is presented in a segment showing the 50 hours and enhanced, by handmade linear guilloché, radiating like a fan. The indicator hand is again blued and matches that of the opposite hand, thereby according symmetry, not just in the shape of the two dials and their hands but in their embellishment. The Equation of Time display rests at nine o’clock. Both are lightly recessed.
The self-regulating Gyroscopic module which visualises the earth’s rotation attracts and enslaves the eye, the oscillation of the movement visible for admiration, inviting approval and is beautifully housed.
Warm, glowing 18 ct. white or rose gold houses the dial and mechanism. It is 45 mm in diameter and frames and enhances the whole but with clear lines which do not detract from any of the salient features. It enfolds the slightly recessed dial and surrounds the movement with smooth lines. It cradles the face.
The lugs similarly are graceful and flowing and that fluidity is echoed in the sculpting of the groove which runs around both case and lugs in a continuum.
The simple etched crown conventionally set at three carries the Zenith star.
The lines as a whole are classic, sculpted. Every detail has been attended to, the sapphire crystal glass is anti-reflective, treated both sides. Attention to detail which entices.
The Christophe Colomb Equation du Temps has the El Primero 8808 manual movement. As already said this affords the “Equation of Time” by its unique gyroscopic system which ensures perfect horizontal positioning of the regulating organ. The movement is made up of 359 components. It is incredible.
The self regulating Gyroscopic module represents evolution from the traditional toubillon. The tourbillon was created to solve a problem present in pocket watches due to their stationary position. The Zenith Christophe Colomb is relevant to a wristwatch, reacting to the wearer’s movements and ensuring the regulating organ remains horizontal, the optimum position for time keeping.
The movement houses 48 jewels, has an oscillating frequency of 36,000 and a power reserve of 50 hours.
All is in harmony. The black alligator strap compliments the red gold wonderfully and is secured by a triple folding buckle. It also has a protective rubber lining for comfort and durability.
This is a watch that dreams are made of. The name, thee excrescent dome speak of other worlds and are the fulfilment of exploration of the limits of watchmaking.
Model reference: 65.2220.8808/01.C630 – white gold
Model reference: 18.2220.8808/01.C631 – rose gold
Movement: El Primero 8808, manual, unique gyroscopic system. Diameter 37 mmm, height, 5.85mm. 48 jewels. Frequency 36,000 vph. Power Reserve 50 hours
Functions: Hours and minutes; self-regulating Christophe Colomb module at 6 o’clock. Equation of time display based on Gregorian calendar. Power reserve indicator. Small seconds indicator
Dial and Case: 18 ct. white gold. silver-toned guilloché motif. Hours Markers and numerals, black lacquered. Hands blued steel. Sapphire glass with anti-reflective treatment to both sides, domes covering the Christophe Colomb module
Strap: Black alligator with a white gold triple folding buckle.