It may not be the most complicated or expensive but Swiss watchmaker Zenith can lay claim to having arguably one of the coolest entries in this year’s Only Watch auction. The brand announced recently that they will be donating the one-of-a-kind prototype used in testing for the development of the El Primero Stratos timepiece, the final version of which was strapped to the wrist of dare devil Felix Baumgartner when he made his extraordinary jump from the edge of space.
Zenith El Primero Stratos
The El Primero Stratos is the first and only watch to break the sound barrier (attaining a speed of Mach 1.25) in direct contact with the exterior. As you can imagine a great deal of research, development and testing was required to ensure that it remained resistant to sudden changes in pressure and temperature, as well as to extreme vibrations, throughout Baumgartner’s incredible descent.
However the appeal goes beyond just being the precursor to the world’s first supersonic watch, the El Primero Stratos also looks the goods too. Presented in a 45.5mm stainless steel case complete with black ceramic unidirectional rotating bezel, the watch features Zenith’s trademark silver-toned sunray dial with 3 colored counters. Not only is this watch history making, it also looks pretty good with a suit too, now how many prototypes can claim that? Of course you may want to switch the strap to something a little more wearable first though.
Powered by Zenith’s legendary El Primero 4057B automatic movement, the watch offers full chronograph functionality including Flyback and Striking 10th (displaying tenths of a second via the sweep seconds-hand) functions.
The Final Word
It’s hard to see whether the unique appeal of the Zenith El Primero Stratos will resonate with bidders at this year’s Only Watch auction, although my gut tells me it will be at the center of at least one bidding war at the event. After all, not only is this the chance to own an incredibly cool watch, it’s also the opportunity to share in a significant piece of history.