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Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands-On

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands-On

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

For a while now, Zenith has been a sponsor of the Spindrift Racing team – a group involved in catamaran sailboat racing. Here is one of their limited edition El Primero watches to celebrate that partnership, and it is actually pretty cool. Boat racing is a popular activity that luxury watch brands like to attach themselves to because a disproportionately large number of wealthy people follow the sport. That is probably because people follow sports they can relate to, and mostly those people who own or sail boats are going to be interested in sailboat racing. As such, I’ve tried to understand where Spindrift Racing competes and in what types of events… and I am pretty lost, given my unfamiliarity with what seems like obscure European port cities. At least I know something about watches.

The newest set of limited edition Sprindrift Racing watches are an interesting lot, and consist of two Zenith El Primero Stratos Sprindrift Racing timepieces. Each offers a unique combination of the Stratos-style case and the open-dial associated with some other Zenith watches. This is the all-black ref. 75.2060.4061/21.R573 “phantom model” in a DLC-coated steel case. The other version of the Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing is the ref. 86.2060.4061/21.R573 which has a two-tone titanium and 18k rose gold case.

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

For an all-black watch, the legibility is pretty good on this timepiece because of the various shades of black and gray on the dial, as well as the different textures and finishing. That means that Zenith was able to pull off a phantom look, without a timepiece that is difficult to read. Of course, there is some color in the open part of the dial where you can see elements of the in-house made Zenith El Primero movement.

Jean-Claude Biver – the person who heads the watch division at LVMH – joked that you could probably rename the Zenith brand to “El Primero” given how important the in-house produced El Primero movements are to the brand’s overall persona and marketing strategy. While there have been a few 2014 models released with Swiss Sellita movements rather than in-house made El Primero or Elite movements, what I hear is that such practices will stop. Being a producer of their own movement is really important to Zenith, and they will maximize that element of their brand as much as possible.

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

Speaking of movements, the Zenith El Primero Stratos Sprindrift Racing watch contains the manufacture El Primero caliber 4061 automatic chronograph movement. What makes an El Primero an El Primero is its 5Hz (36,000 bph) operating frequency. This is above most other mechanical watches that operate at 4Hz (or less). The chronograph has a column-wheel transmission, while the movement has about 50 hours of power reserve.

In the interest of performance, the 4061 has a lever and escapement in silicon. These elements can be viewed through the open window on the dial of the watch whose shape is meant to look like three stacked circles. In addition to seeing the regulator, the window has has a three-pronged running seconds hand. The rest of the dial has more traditional subdials for the chronograph hour and minute counters.

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

This open window on the dial is rather unlike most of the other Stratos watches, though it can be found on some other Zenith models. The rest of the case is pure (black) Stratos with the rotating diver’s-style bezel and 100 meters of water resistance. If you are interested in sport watches with some skeletonization of the dial, then this version of the Zenith El Primero Stratos is going to hard to pass by.

At 45mm wide on the wrist, the Stratos has never been a small watch, but it does wear handsomely. I would normally say that I prefer watches of this ilk on a bracelet, but that isn’t actually true here. I personally don’t like the bracelet that Zenith supplies with many of their Stratos models. It looks nice enough but pulls hair and does not offer enough micro adjustment. Thus, that leaves the Stratos to live comfortably on a range of straps such as this black rubber and fabric strap that works well with the overall aesthetic.

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing Watch Hands On hands on

Zenith El Primero movements are rarely a poor choice and it is nice to see that Zenith offers a healthy variety of them. It is easy to suggest that all well-rounded watch collections include at least one El-Primero based timepieces. For the Stratos Spindrift model in this black DLC-coated case the theme is modern and sporty. You even have a carbon fiber dial. Zenith has experimented in the past with an all carbon fiber case in the El Primero Lightweight Limited Edition Skeletonized watch.

Overall, this is a rather cool and unique Zenith model even if you don’t at all care about the brand’s relationship with Spindrift Racing or sailing. Also, while these seem to fit the mold of limited edition watches, Zenith hasn’t communicated them as as such. Prices for the Zenith El Primero Stratos Spindrift Racing watch in DLC steel is $ 9,100 and in titanium and 18k rose gold it is $ 22,600. zenithwatches.com

See more articles about:Chronograph WatchesEl Primero

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Read This: Artist Peter Max’s Corvette collection headed to auction [w/video]

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  • Artist Peter Max’s Corvette collection headed to auction [w/video]
Peter Max - A Retrospective - 1960-2014

Sometimes, the stories that lead to cars turning up at auction are as interesting as the vehicles themselves. That’s absolutely the case with the Peter Max (pictured above) collection of vintage Chevrolet Corvette models that are scheduled to cross the block in the spring of 2016.

Max is perhaps best known as a ’60s pop artist who mixed vibrant colors with iconic imagery. However, classic car fans around New York City might know him better for storing a collection of 36 vintage ‘Vettes in public parking garages for decades. The assortment is pretty special because it consists of one example of every model year from the original 1953 up until 1989, according to The New York Times.

Unfortunately, New York parking garages aren’t really known for their cleanliness, and photos show the artist’s Chevrolet collection neglected, caked in dirt and dust. After moving the collection around between several locations in the past few years, Max finally brokered a deal to sell them all off for an undisclosed price earlier this summer.

The collection’s new owners are rehabbing the cars in preparation for selling them off. They’re hoping to keep them all together as a set, but they’re also apparently ready to let them go individually if that doesn’t work, a move that will likely build buzz around these cars as they move toward the auction block.

The most bizarre part about these Corvettes is how Max acquired them. Without spoiling too much, it involves a 1989 contest from the cable music channel VH1. Scroll below to watch a video about this fascinating collection, then go read the whole story over at The New York Times.

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Study: Berkeley findings says motorcycle lane-splitting safer than ever [w/video, poll]

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  • Berkeley findings says motorcycle lane-splitting safer than ever [w/video, poll]
Motorcycle Commuter Safety

The latest study seems to indicate that riders are better off splitting lanes than ever before.

In some parts of the US, the concept of a motorcycle buzzing between lanes of slower traffic is a foreign concept, but it’s an accepted practice in others. Each year since 2012, The Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California, Berkeley, conducts a study to check acceptance and safety of lane-splitting in the state, where the act is legal. The latest study seems to indicate that riders are better off splitting lanes than ever before.

Among California motorcyclists, lane-splitting is becoming increasingly accepted. In the study, 80.6 percent of riders report doing it on freeways, about the same as before. However, of them, 37.3 percent of them say it happens “Always” compared to 30.9 percent in 2012.

On non-freeways, 71.4 of riders split lanes, up 10.3 percent from 2013. Of them 32.9 percent say it happens “Always,” up 7.6 percent from a year ago. Furthermore, 62.1 percent of people split on both types of roads, up 7.5 percent form 2013.

With more people splitting lanes, the question of its impact on safety arises, and the study indicates that the act is getting less dangerous, too. The UC Berkeley study shows 4.7 percent of riders on freeways were hit by a vehicle while lane-splitting in 2014, down from 8.6 percent in 2013 and 11.8 percent in 2012. Non-freeways have seen a similar decline to just 2.0 percent in 2014 compared to 7.4 percent last year and 8.3 percent in 2012. Motorcyclists saying they nearly hit a car or had one try to block them are both lower this year, as well. Drivers are seemingly also finding the practice more acceptable, too.

This year’s study includes info from 1,660 respondents, including 951 drivers and 709 motorcycle riders, and it paints a fairly positive picture about the safety of lane-splitting. The entire 51-page study can be read here in PDF format, and scroll down for a report about the study from CBS News.

What do you think of lane-splitting? Vote in our poll below, then have your say in Comments.

Do you think motorcycle lane-splitting is safe?


California Office of Traffic Safety, CBS This Morning via YouTube

Image Credit: Randall Benton / Sacramento Bee / MCT / Getty Images

Category: Government/Legal, Safety, Motorcycle

Tags: berkeley, lane-splitting, motorcycle, motorcycle safety, road safety, uc berkeley

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