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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I would like to draw the forum's attention to the fact that one of the most beautiful chronographs of all time, the well-known Zenith El Primero A385, is often being hunted by unscrupulous people who merely want to get it for its case.

The case is then used to upgrade (to have a case in better condition) or downright to create other references - and the chief goal here is apparently to upgrade or create new A3818 "cover girls", or other references such as the A384 or A3817.

The mundane reason for this is obviously that the A3818 AKA cover girl or the A384 and A3817 at present have a slightly higher market value.

This has already been going on for years. And one of the results of this macabre practice is that there are now many used A385 dials for sale. For instance, there is one e-bay seller in Israel, a known frankenmeister, who at this moment has four (4 !) used original A385 dials for sale. Don't you wonder what happened with these watches?

Therefore the A385 is rapidly becoming another rhinoceros: an endangered species, a relic from another era, that is being hunted mercilessly by poachers, who are only out to get its horn, to then pass it on to dim people, who believe it has special properties. Please be advised: the A3818 has no therapeutic properties! And it is worth nothing as an aphrodisiac!

On the contrary, the A385 is IMHO far more important than the A3818. The reason is simple: the A385 is an essential part of the 'holy trinity' of the first three Zenith El Primero's, made in 1969:



Which means that each serious Zenith collector should have one.

The A3818 on the other hand was made years later (approx. 1971). It is popular because it was used for the cover of Rössler's book on Zenith. It is beautiful, but it is not essential.

So be warned all you frankenmeisters out there... the A385 is not to be cannibalised.
 

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O so true, the a385 has to be much more beautiful in the hand , I recently bought a 70s defy with the same kaki colour dial as the a385 just for bracelet that came with it and hand planed to sell the watch after I got the bracelet but I could not and will not sell it after gazing at that kaki colour dial love it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
O so true, the a385 has to be much more beautiful in the hand , I recently bought a 70s defy with the same kaki colour dial as the a385 just for bracelet that came with it and hand planed to sell the watch after I got the bracelet but I could not and will not sell it after gazing at that kaki colour dial love it.
Exactly. The A385 has a very special beauty, but it has to be experienced first hand, since it is not as photogenic as the other references, it is more delicate.



 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Beautiful watches in their own right, very under-appreciated perhaps? Was there ever a consensus on the differences between the grey and cappuccino dial colouration? I actually prefer the cappuccino...
was there ever a consensus on the differences in the dials of the A385: I don't know; What is your opinion on the differences? IMHO the differences are due to different exposure to sunlight and other conditions. But notwithstanding the small differences in colour, a smoke khaki dial always remains beautiful; perhaps because both 'smoke' and 'khaki' exist in a variety of tints, shades and tones. And as a result the community perhaps isn't even convinced yet wether the subtle colour differences in different A385's are due to tropicalisation or to different production runs. Whereas for instance when you look at the A384, this confusion doesn't exist, because black turning to brown is an obvious result of tropicalisation.
 

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I would like to draw the forum's attention to the fact that one of the most beautiful chronographs of all time, the well-known Zenith El Primero A385, is often being hunted by unscrupulous people who merely want to get it for its case.

The case is then used to upgrade (to have a case in better condition) or downright to create other references - and the chief goal here is apparently to upgrade or create new A3818 "cover girls", or other references such as the A384 or A3817.
This is disturbing news. A despicable practice. I fervently hope that I find my A385 before they've all been harvested for their shells.

No, the proper way to upgrade, say, an over-polished A3818 is to find another A3818 that has been damaged internally beyond any reasonable hope of restoration, with its case left intact and unpolished. Like this one, for example:





And if you're really fortunate, the donor and recipient watches will have consecutive case numbers. ;)
 

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was there ever a consensus on the differences in the dials of the A385: I don't know; What is your opinion on the differences? IMHO the differences are due to different exposure to sunlight and other conditions. But notwithstanding the small differences in colour, a smoke khaki dial always remains beautiful; perhaps because both 'smoke' and 'khaki' exist in a variety of tints, shades and tones. And as a result the community perhaps isn't even convinced yet wether the subtle colour differences in different A385's are due to tropicalisation or to different production runs. Whereas for instance when you look at the A384, this confusion doesn't exist, because black turning to brown is an obvious result of tropicalisation.
I've no idea, just curious whether there was any info on the subject. As I say, I like the sand/cappuccino - in pictures at least. My initial thoughts were the same as yours, but as ever I know just enough to know i don't know everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I've no idea, just curious whether there was any info on the subject. As I say, I like the sand/cappuccino - in pictures at least. My initial thoughts were the same as yours, but as ever I know just enough to know i don't know everything.
I wish I knew how little I know. I guess 'cappuccino' is a darker complexion. This one has a sand colour, as you can see against the backdrop of wet beach sand:

Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Strap Fashion accessory


Really low-key. A superb understatement.

And so is the case, which is incredibly refined, although you can hardly see that: you have to look at it in close-up from different angles to see all the curves and angles and polishing.

This is disturbing news. A despicable practice. I fervently hope that I find my A385 before they've all been harvested for their shells.
Hurry, get your A385 before it's too late: they were already the rarest of the three (A384-5-6) before the scavengers started harvesting their bodies.
 

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I wish I knew how little I know. I guess 'cappuccino' is a darker complexion. This one really has a light sand colour, as you can see against the backdrop of wet beach sand:

View attachment 1225322

Really low-key. A superb understatement.

And so is the case, which is incredibly refined, although you can hardly see that: you have to look at it in close-up from different angles to see all the curves and angles and polishing.
Absolutely - I swithered over one from Spain too long and then....it was gone, and I regret it still.

A pic from 2010 illustrates the differences; anyway, whatever the story or preference, a beautiful third of the original trifecta.


(courtesy 'gombritch'/WuS)
 

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This is disturbing news. A despicable practice. I fervently hope that I find my A385 before they've all been harvested for their shells.

No, the proper way to upgrade, say, an over-polished A3818 is to find another A3818 that has been damaged internally beyond any reasonable hope of restoration, with its case left intact and unpolished. Like this one, for example:





And if you're really fortunate, the donor and recipient watches will have consecutive case numbers. ;)
MMMD, If this were my covergirl watch I would leave it as is, and either custom make replica hands which I could do. Service and repair the movement. I can get some Zenith parts now. Leave the case and case back untouched and clean and leave the dial alone. No restoration. Your a lucky guy to have it. 31
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I wish I knew how little I know. I guess 'cappuccino' is a darker complexion. This one has a sand colour, as you can see against the backdrop of wet beach sand:

View attachment 1225322

A superb understatement.

And so is the case, which is incredibly refined, although you can hardly see that: you have to look at it in close-up from different angles to see all the curves and angles and polishing.
here is a shot to show some of the curves and angles of this beautiful, elegant case

Watch Analog watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Wrist
 
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