St. Valentine's Day watch editions. The perfect excuse for watch manufacturers to "let it rip" in their ladies watch design department, an opportunity to add a bit of bling here and there and a chance to pinkify the portfolio. Just harmless candy coating eh? Actually Valentine's "tribute" watches are becoming quite serious business.
Blancpain, for example present a new "Saint Valentin" piece each year, a sprinkling of girly-ness on the outside, but inside these editions are powered by self-winding calibres with added complications - flyback chronographs, moonphase indications and complete calendar functions. And there's more - Frédérique Constant have in their portfolio the Double Heart Beat Collection, some of which have exquisite intertwined hearts on the dial, and of course Hublot have a Big Bang Valentine edition. All of these are quite appealing, all are contenders, but one piece stands out - not just for its aesthetics - because it too is a beauty, but because it is powered by the perfectly precise El Primero movement, the original - best? automatic chronograph. This is the Zenith Queen of Love Star Open.
Inside the 37.5mm rounded case, the El Primero 4021 beats at 36,000 vibrations per hour, ensuring accurate time measuring to 1/10th of a second. A solid bi-directional central rotor, decorated for the occasion produces a respectable power reserve of 50 hours. A heart-shaped aperture allows a look-see through to the calibre and that little heart fluttering at the cut-away is not just a quaint love token, it serves as a seductive ever-moving small seconds display. At 3 o'clock is a 30 minute counter and above 6 o'clock is surely the most loved-up power reserve indicator ever produced with it's graduating dispay and "Cupidon Love Hand". The dial is silvered with guilloché decoration a backdrop for those distinctive, curly-swirly Zenith numerals. Not syrupy in the slightest, this is simply the most perfect Valentine's Day/Birthday/Anyday gift ever... especially if she is calibre-conscious.
The piece shown here is in stainless steel, but also available were 18 carat yellow and rose gold editions, and an obligatory diamond-set option, all forming part of the Zenith portfolio of 2006 - missed it? Keep searching.... they're out there.
And something for the lads -the new Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Chronograph