The Fast And The Fratelli — Shootout Round: Jorg’s Tudor Black Bay Chrono Vs. Andreas’s Zenith El Primero A386 Revival
It’s time for a good, old-fashioned shootout! This is the stage where the voting really counts. It will decide who drops out of the competition, and who comes one step closer to taking first place. Today, it’s Zenith versus Tudor, and Andreas versus Jorg. Both their picks are firmly rooted in the past. While the Tudor Black Bay Chrono is a more contemporary model, Zenith reaches back to the birth of a legend with the A386 Revival. Will the popularity of the crown’s little sister outplay the historical achievements of the grande dame who once established the concept of a manufacture? That’s up to you! Cast your vote and let us know your pick in the comments!
As always, both editors will be presenting their watch and giving all the reasons why they believe it should emerge victoriously. We’re not just aiming to get to the quarterfinals here — everyone is going for gold. So read below, see who persuades you, then make sure to vote at the end of the article. Only one of these two watches will make it to the next round, and potentially on to take the checkered flag. Today’s race will decide between the winners of the contestants introduced by Jorg and Andreas during the first round. Jorg’s Tudor was the winner in the race against the Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40. In an even more definitive victory, Andreas’s Zenith El Primero A386 Revival won against the Sinn 910 Anniversary. It’s notable that in both races, most comments clearly argued in favor of the watch that did not win. So we’ll be curious to see if the silent majority of the voters will surprise us again during this match-up. Gentlemen, start your engines!
Jorg — Tudor Black Bay Chrono
Before I get into today’s competition, I would like to look back at my first-round battle. It’s remarkable to see how passionate the commenters were about everything the Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 represents. Yet the Tudor was always leading the race. In the end, the Black Bay Chrono cruised to victory, and I am not surprised by the result. Tudor has built a successful brand over the last decade. It’s shaken the stigma of being an “affordable Rolex clone.” It captures the spirit of the past of both The Crown and its protector, combining it with modern technology and an affordable price tag. This formula has proven extremely hard to beat.
In more ways than one, it’s this spirit that played a big part in the last round’s victory. Firstly, out of the two contestants, the Black Bay is closer to what most people consider a racing chronograph than the classically styled Breitling. So it is better suited for the “speedy” contest we are running here. Secondly, while many people shame the Black Bay Chrono for essentially being a Daytona-inspired chronograph — keeping it friendly here — it is the root of where its victory lies. The Black Bay Chrono captures the spirit of the vintage manual-winding Daytonas that for most people have become an unobtainable dream. This current Black Bay Chrono is visually closer to the magical name of Paul Newman than any of the automatic Daytona’s, past or present.
Going up against chronograph royalty
Next in line trying to beat the Tudor is Andreas’s Zenith El Primero A386 Revival. Now, I happen to be a big fan of Zenith’s El Primero Revival line because we finally get to enjoy the iconic Zenith models in their original size and execution. Zenith has long struggled to release its iconic El Primero trio in its original form. Seeing them available as they were intended is great. On top of that, seeing a high-beat El Primero movement in action is a feast for the eyes. Watching the chronograph seconds hand glide over the dial is truly brilliant. How do I feel about the A386 then? Well, I much prefer the A384, to be honest. Its case speaks to me more, creating something unique in combination with the dial, movement, and ladder bracelet. It makes it somewhat easier to go up against the A386.
Andreas will probably try to tell you that the Black Bay is essentially borrowing from Daytona’s legacy. He’ll probably try to tell you the Zenith is pure in all its intentions and that’s why it should win. But we are not running a competition based on pure intentions here. This is a popularity contest, first and foremost. So I’m all-in when it comes to moving the masses rather than simply pleasing the purists. Listen, you can have the most beautiful car with the best-engineered engine. But if it doesn’t fly across the track to win races, you won’t be able to compete for the grand prize. And the Tudor is here to do exactly that.
A quick reminder of the success story
To remind you what makes the Black Bay Chrono such a great watch, let me sum it up. It obviously starts with its good looks. The piece embodies the racing spirit of the past that has set the standard for modern-day chronographs. It is why the Black Bay Chrono walks that thin line between past and present so perfectly. It’s 41mm wide and 14.4mm thick, with a 49.9mm lug-to-lug and the Oyster-style stainless steel bracelet. The amalgamation of all these things makes it wear great. Combine those modern specs with the romance of the Rolex Daytona ref. 6263, and there’s plenty to like when it comes to presence and wearability.
Inside the case, Tudor equipped the Black Bay Chrono with it’s caliber MT-5813. As I explained in the previous round, this caliber uses the Breitling B01 movement as a base, and it is slightly modified by using replacements components — a tungsten winding rotor, a variable-inertia balance wheel, and a silicon balance spring — before it is COSC-certified. This modern movement under the hood is making sure that the Black Bay Chrono can deliver on all aspects of the watch. Add the sub-€5K list price and you end up with a watch that is hard to beat. The Tudor Black Bay Chrono is a vintage-inspired racing chronograph that is executed to the best modern standards. While it perfectly captures the racing spirit of the past, but it actually built to win in these modern times. And I’m confident it will do so again here!
Andreas — Zenith El Primero A386 Revival
It was 1969, and Zenith presented a groundbreaking novelty — El Primero, an automatic chronograph. Of the three executions in which Zenith offered its new caliber back then, the A386 became the iconic design that represents that 150-year-old brand like nothing else. Fifty years later, Zenith answered the desire of countless enthusiasts and resurrected that rare model.
By reviving this absolute classic in its original look and size, Zenith withstood the temptation so many other brands fall victim to. The A386 Revival is the original, just renewed. The design of this watch is not vintage-inspired. This is the original vintage design itself. If you ever longed for a genuine classic without the imponderables of a vintage watch, here you have it!
The signature sub-dials unmistakably identify the El Primero A386 Revival. Even before you discover all the wonderful details that define the beauty of this watch, you recognize first which watch you are facing. Tudor is quite a popular brand today, but surely beauty is not the strength of the Black Bay Chrono. That whimsical snowflake hour hand and the overemphasized screw-down pushers only enrapture a true watch nerd. The A386 Revival, however, is a lesson in design. Just a hint of color recalls the classic look to reassure you that this is no dress watch. The red seconds counter pointing to the tachymeter scale signals that we are facing a racing chronograph. Then again, the A386 Revival is quite versatile. Its restrained look goes well with myriad outfits for any of life’s sundry occasions.
A look inside
The A386 Revival is the El Primero watch powered by the El Primero caliber. What more could you ask for? While the modified Breitling caliber inside the Tudor is not bad, Zenith offers the true legend of chronograph movements. The El Primero is a real in-house caliber that convincingly stood the test of time. In addition, as it is a high-beat caliber, it even offers higher precision in measuring time.
The A386 Revival is a handsome watch, and the chronograph pushers don’t impair that impression. These pushers are unobtrusive but always ready to use. I already mentioned the screw-down pushers on the Black Bay Chrono. On the Rolex Daytona, the Tudor’s big sister, screw-down pushers have become a defining characteristic. This similarity moves the Black Bay Chrono even closer to its unobtainable big sister. But imagine you would ever want to use a chronograph with screw-down pushers to measure an event…
So who will go on to the quarterfinal?
There you have it, folks! Jorg Verstappen and Andreas Hamilton have presented their picks. Now the time has come for you to choose. So, which watch will go on to the quarterfinals and potentially on to take the podium? Make sure to cast your vote below. Remember to also leave a comment with your pick and reasons behind it. This is not just a contest for the editors. There is a grand prize to be won by one lucky commenter.