The Rolling Stones Rock The Zenith El Primero

It’s odd to think of Zenith as the official watch of the Rolling Stones. Given the theatricality of rock and roll, you would expect a brand like Hublot, or maybe Jacob & Co. to come at it with full-on bling or a showcase complication – a performance piece in keeping with the drama of a Rolling Stones concert. Zenith, on the other hand, is known for its understated, elegant designs, a high-end classic timepiece for business types who understand luxury watches – the brand also partners with Range Rover. But Zenith is also known for the El Primero, a high-frequency mechanical chronograph movement that is one of very few calibers in the industry referred to as “legendary.” Like the Rolling Stones, the Zenith El Primero movement has been out there since the ’60s, performing at full speed. Like Mick and Keith, it is a tribute to longevity.

The Zenith El Primero Tribute to The Rolling Stones


In keeping with the Zenith aesthetic, the special-edition El Primero Skeleton Rolling Stones is in fact quite subdued. The black ceramic case and openworked movement serve as a neutral backdrop for the bright red Rolling Stones logo, the most obvious link with the band. It also delivers a performance, functioning as a small-seconds indicator as it rotates like a vinyl record on a turntable. The El Primero movement was first introduced in 1969, the first automatic chronograph caliber to oscillate at a frequency of 36,000 vph (compared to the standard frequency of 28,000 vph), enabling tenths of a second display. A high-freqency movement is inherently more precise. Since then, there have been 600 El Primero movement variations (this watch houses the El Primero Caliber 400B, with a 50-hour power reserve), and the movement is still considered the standard in automatic chronograph calibers. Founded in Le Locle in 1865, Zenith gained recognition for its precision chronometers, for which it has won 2,333 chronometry prizes. Additional nods to the band include a Rolling Stones logo on the rotor, visible through the caseback, and hour and minute hands that evoke the neck of a Fender Telecaster 1950s electric guitar. There is also an optional black calfskin strap hot-stamped with rock motifs, including the neck of a guitar. Red stitching matches the logo on the dial. It is a limited edition of 250 pieces.