The quarter-finals are here and we still have a bunch of Speedies in this game. But have no fear, the Zenith El Primero A386 Revival is here. Will it push the Speedmaster Apollo 8 off the track like Lewis did to Max (or vice versa), or will we see only Speedies in the finals? Today, Andreas’s Zenith goes up against RJ’s Speedmaster Apollo 8.

RJ: This is going to be interesting. And truth be told, I would have a hard time making a decision between this classic Zenith El Primero A386 Revival — despite being a re-edition — or a modern interpretation of a classic, like the Speedmaster Apollo 8. A watch with a Zenith El Primero movement is still high on my wish list, but which one?

Speedmaster Apollo 8

Zenith is doing a mighty good job today, and it is a brand that I respect a lot. I’d even consider a watch from a different brand with an El Primero movement. I’m not talking the Daytona here (I also don’t want a tweaked down version of the El Primero), but an Ebel chronograph, for example, or a vintage Movado. Anyway, I am here to push the other watch in this round — the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 8.

I love a good story, and I feel the Speedmaster Apollo 8 tells that story in a wonderful way. Which story, you ask? The race to the Moon, of course. In this case, it’s the story about Apollo 8 in which astronauts found themselves on the far side of the moon. The Moon-surface decoration of the caliber 1869 is something I’ve touched upon in earlier rounds.

It’s got what it takes

The movement, as you probably know, is a modern interpretation of the caliber 1861. It was Omega’s previous Moonwatch caliber before it was replaced by the 3861. It’s a movement that has been tried and tested for many decades. Its predecessor, caliber 861, has been in production even longer than Zenith’s El Primero from 1969.

You might wonder — and some of you did — what this watch has to do with racing. Well, nothing, really. But it is a chronograph with a tachymeter, and it ticked all the other boxes to be a player in this contest. And look where it is now — in the quarter-finals!

I think it is now time to let the watch do the talking and you do the voting.

Andreas — Zenith El Primero A386 Revival

RJ, as always, behaves like a gentleman and provides a balanced view of these two watches. He even finds some appreciative words for my contestant. I can’t afford that. This is a competition. And I’m facing a Speedmaster here on Fratello! So this fight is going to get a bit dirty, I think. I apologize to everyone who owns and loves the Speedmaster Apollo 8.

Take a look at the A386 Revival. Look at this beauty, this absolute classic! And then look at the Speedy Apollo 8. Do you notice something? That Speedy is no bad or ugly watch at all. It’s just a bit “special.” We all had or still will have our colorful phases in our watch collecting journeys. The combination of yellow on black on this Speedy serves this purpose perfectly. But think how many occasions this color scheme would fit in. Compare this to the versatility of the A386 Revival. The black bridges on the Speedy’s movement are a nice treat indeed, with a surface treatment imitating the surface of the moon. I give this movement design bonus points for creativity. But this broken dial? That surface structure would have been a rather cute idea to represent the topic this watch is dedicated to. But why is that dial broken? What does it reveal? Is there any exciting part of the movement underneath that this crack uncovers? I don’t see it.

Timing laps on the moon

That Speedmaster Apollo 8 is seriously dedicated to the moon, albeit with a bit of a flashy appearance. Does this flash really suit the dark side of the moon? Anyway! Let’s simply consider this design as an amalgamation of the Speedy’s origin as a racing chronograph and its selection as the moon watch.

Okay, guys, now let’s get visual! So this Speedy might be the perfect watch to time a race on the moon. Do you remember the scenes shot on the moon showing that lunar rover? Remember its “speed”? You could time that with a sundial! Unfortunately, just not on the dark side of the moon. That was the reason Omega gave us that watch. It has been called a fun piece before. And I must agree — rather funny it is.

Practicality once more

I’m stressing this aspect in my contributions to this competition, but the A386 Revival measures intervals with the precision of 1/10 of a second. Next, it is not just an automatic chronograph, but rather, the first automatic chronograph. The Speedmaster’s hand-wound movement may be a nice toy for those poor guys who compare winding a watch to an act of sexuality. But it certainly doesn’t match the modern styling of that watch. Hence, even against this Speedmaster, the A386 Revival excels in practicality.

Now it’s up to you! Cast your votes and set your keys on fire by flinging out your comments. May the best watch win!

Semi-finals, here I come!