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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just picked up a Mark I De Luca (Ref: 01.0040.400) which I have been looking for for some time:



This got me thinking about the period when the de Luca came out and why there were so many and such substantial changes to the model in a relatively short production run.

My theory, and it is only a theory, is that with the de Luca Zenith made a great looking chrono but found that sales were very disappointing, hence the availability of NOS Mk Is. This was at the time when Zenith was only just beginning to regain its reputation after the disatrous late '70s/early '80s quartz period.

In a crisis of confidence, and perhaps an attempt to stay solvent, they decided to change the de Luca over to a Rolex influenced piece. They swapped the dial to one with Rolex Sub-style round indices, added Mercedes hands and added an Oyster-style bracelet (the Mk I only came on a strap) and Daytona-style pushers in what became the Mk II de Luca. I don't know that this had the desired effect in boosting sales but it sure made a collectible range of watches.

I am also inclined to think that the switch to the Rolex-style look resulted in many of the unsold Mk Is being re-dialed and re-handed by Zenith, accounting for the number of watches with the original 01.0040.400 case but the Rolex-style dial and hands - transitional Mk I/IIs if you like.

Your thoughts?

Dave
 

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Interesting thoughts. It will be interesting to see what others have to say. I had some interests in the De Lucas, but quickly bought into the El Primero Fly-Back line when I had the chance.

Thanks for the post!

Dan
 

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Dave, then it sounds like you have an original dial, which I must say, is very beautiful and in excellent shape! It looks like you really lucked out with this find. I hope you enjoy it as well as all of your other beautiful Zeniths!

Damon
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dave, then it sounds like you have an original dial, which I must say, is very beautiful and in excellent shape! It looks like you really lucked out with this find. I hope you enjoy it as well as all of your other beautiful Zeniths!

Damon
I'm not sure Damon. The lume on the dial is very fresh looking, much more so than the hands so it may have been replaced, though I can't think why on a NOS watch. This is going to be a regular wearer so in this case I'm not that bothered if it is 100% guaranteed original.

Dave
 

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Interesting post and beautiful watch.

Apropos of lume, how long would one expect the different types of lume to maintain the effect? I don't mean how long after you've charged superluminova would it glow, but how many years would, say, Tritium, continue to glow? Luminova? Superluminova?
 

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As I've mentioned to Dave on a different site, the lume on my mkI de luca is virtually dead so its surprising to see this one so fresh. Very nice example though.
 
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