In horological history, the release of the Zenith El Primero in the late 60’s stands out as one of the more defining moments. Dubbed the first ever automatic chronograph to be made in production, the El Primero to this day remains largely unchanged and truly an icon.
With the vintage El Primero line hogging all the attention, it is often forgotten that Movado, who were owned by the same parent company that owned Zenith, also benefitted from the revolutionary self-winding movement. This Movado Datron HS 360 is exactly that and it is quintessentially a 70’s watch in its styling. With a 38mm stainless steel tonneau case and a beautiful matte blue dial, this is truly an undervalued watch with huge watchmaking pedigree.
While there is dispute as to whether it was Zenith/Movado or the consortium led by Heuer, Seiko, Buren-Hamilton, Breitling and Dubois-Depraz that created the first self-winding chronograph, there is no contest in regards to the quality of the Zenith Cal. 3019 PHC compared to the latter’s Calibre 11. Most notably, the way the hi-beat movement allows the chronograph seconds hand to move around the dial so smoothly is a joy to watch. Similarly, resetting the chronograph hand, it jumps straight back to 0 without much backlash or hand quivering. You just know this is pure quality.
This Movado Datron will likely always be overshadowed by its El Primero counterparts, but if you’re in the know, and like the 70’s styling of this HS 360, this is a lot of watch for the money.