Old vs. new … Simply have a look and tell me what you think…
In the late 1990s the French Ministry of Defence was seeking for a watch for its fighter pilots. The goal was to find a chronograph capable of maintaining excellent precision even in extreme conditions of use – including violent accelerations from 9 to 11 g’s, variations in pressure and temperature, as well as vibrations and magnetic fields. Zenith responded the bid for tender launched by the French Ministry of Defence by presenting the reliable and resistant Rainbow Fly Back model in 1997. Its steel case had a diameter of 40 mm, therefore the readability from the big dial was outstanding and the accuracy of the Zenith El Primero calibre 400 under all conditions at the level desired by the French Ministry of Defence.
But the Zenith Rainbow Chronograph Fly Back was not only reserved for the French fighter pilots, everyone could buy this chronograph. So did I at the time being and today I am very proud to own one.
By the way: In 1998 the Zenith Rainbow Chronograph Fly Back was sold for 5200 DM (Deutsche Mark) including 15 % VAT.
>>> Discover the 2014 model on page 2 >>>
In 2014 Zenith draws inspiration from this landmark model in offering a reinterpretation: The El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow, driven by the El Primero Calibre 405 B automatic movement.
Still the movements beats at the frequency of 36,000 A/h enabling a 1/10th of a second precision. The chronograph is equipped with a date display, a telemetric scale, and above all with the famous fly-back function. Still closely bound up with the world of aviation, the latter enables pilots to stop, start and restart the chronograph at a single press on the push-piece, compared with three presses required for a standard chronograph.
The today´s 45.5 mm steel-case is topped by a rotating bezel bearing an aluminium ring. The rounded sapphire crystal is shaped like an astrodome – the dome located on the fuselage’s dorsal ridge to enable astronavigation. The equally transparent engraved sapphire case-back reveals the mechanism of the El Primero Calibre 405 B calibre.
On the dial side, the minutes counter at 3 o’clock appears in colours enabling night-time readings in infrared-lit cockpits, exactly like the first model developed in cooperation with a fighter pilot, while the hours are displayed at 6 o’clock and the small seconds at 9 o’clock. The white Super-LumiNova hour-markers make a strong contrast with the black of the dial and case, while the chronograph sweep-seconds-hand stands out in red. The inner bezel ring bearing a telemetric scale creates an overall depth effect. The El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow is fitted with a steel bracelet.
Today the Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Rainbow is sold for 7100 Euro including 20 % VAT.
What do you think? Do you like the new one? Who of you has an old one and would like to compare the two? Let me know what you think!