I must say, that I am a sucker for the diver chronograph craze. For me, the Zenith A277 is one of the most photogenic watches I’ve come across, with its faded grey/blue dial and bezel, muscular case and elongated minute track and hour indices. This is the real deal, everything you would want in a vintage, hand-wound diver chronograph.
Furthermore, what is nice about this example is that it comes with its original Gay Frères ladder bracelet with correct end ‘ZF’ end links. If you know a thing or two about GF, is that they were the premier manufacturer of bracelets, making for the likes of Patek Philippe and Rolex.
I do think that the A277 proves to be much more interesting than its cousin, the Heuer Autavia, both in terms of rarity and aesthetics. While the Autavia craze continues, more under the radar pieces such as this A277 continue to be an attractive proposition.
There are two variants of the A277. This example features blued steel subdial hands a thicker bezel like the one found on the Movado Super Subsea and a paddle chronograph hand with a fatter tail. The other variant came with gold subdial hands, a thinner bezel that was more prone to wear and a smaller paddle chronograph hand with a thin tail.
The Zenith A277 is powered by one of the nicer chronograph movements to operate, the ‘in-house’ Cal. 146HP. I say ‘in-house’ in inverted commas because this movement was actually produced by Martel which also produced movements for Universal Genève- but in the 1960s, Zenith purchased Martel and amalgamated them into their manufacture.
Being one of the last manually wound calibers Zenith made before they transitioned into the El Primero era, they certainly did a great job in signing off on the hand-wound era.