The Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar is a very beautiful watch which is both complicated and simple - a contradiction of terms? ..... read on. The piece is a collaboration between Zenith and the Musée International d’Horlogerie. Zenth bring to the watchmaker's bench their high-precision El Primero calibre a highly complex piece of micro engineering, the MIH allow usage of the ingenious, yet supremely simple annual calendar module designed by Ludwig Oechslin, Master Watchmaker and Curator of the Chaux-de-Fonds museum.
Zenith are on a bit of a crest at the moment. We reported to you last year that recently appointed CEO Jean-Frédéric Dufour had trimmed down their portfolio to allow us to rediscover the brand's traditional values and heritage. In an industry where very public ill-received changes can bring about a cash-slow crisis, any fresh CEO has to have more that a little courage to complete such an ardous task. Thankfully in this case "Fortune Favours the Brave", Zenith are back.
The Annual Calendar is a function which is capable of recognising the variations of each month with the exception of February and is one which will therefore only need adjustment once per year. In watchmaking, as with many disciplines it is much more of a challenge to simplify a mechanism that to make it more complex. Ludwig Oechslin's module uses a simplified disc mechanism comprising only 9 moving parts. The simple addition of little thorns for months with only 30 days ensures that the disc will jump by two days, resting only briefly on the 31st day before immediately advancing to the 1st. The day/date aperture changes occur around midnight with the day of week changing soon afterwards, an acceptable compromise as an instant date change would complicate the construction and add to the size and weight of the module.
The piece is presented in the classically styled 42mm Captain watchcase. On the dial, contrasting finishes - a centre section of guilloché and a broad satin-finished outer rim. Facetted indices and central hour and minute hands complete the vintage design. Date apertures are located at 3 o'clock for day and month, with date of month located at 6 o'clock. Two sub-dials balance the layout, a small seconds at 9 o'clock and chronograph counter above the day date aperture at 6.
Inside is the Zenith El Primero 4054 automatic movement with a power reserve of 50 hours. Three editions of the Zenith Captain Winsor Annual Calendar will be available, 18-carat rose gold case with silvered dial and stainless steel case with silvered or midnight blue dial each presented on an alligator leather strap.