There are few high-end brands that we respect as much as Zenith and you don’t have to look much further than their website to understand why. Zenith is responsible for the stunning Elite Captain Dual Time, the very cool Striking 10th and even the Captain Windsor which boasts both an annual calendar and a chronograph for a price that is literally without competition. All Zenith timepieces are powered by their own in-house movements, allowing the internal technology to keep pace with their many beautiful designs. Zenith’s newest model, the Espada, is their attempt at an entry level model to attract new buyers while still incorporating their brand DNA into its simple three-hand design.
The 40mm wide Espada may be an entry level model but buyers will be excited to note that it is still powered by an in-house El Primero 4650b with a 50 hour power reserve, 22 jewels and a decorated rotor that can be seen through the sapphire case back. Furthermore, the 4560b beats at a watch-nerd approved and silky smooth 36,000 vph (5 Hz). Zenith has a total of eight different variations which make use of steel or rose gold for the cases and a range of dials that even includes diamond-clad versions. The conservative in us really likes the base steel model with the black dial and its teal accents (ref 03.2170.4650/21.M2170).
With many brands producing limited editions with multiple complications and cases made exclusively from precious metals, it is refreshing to see a brand as revered as Zenith reaching out to those who prefer their watches in steel and designed to tell the time in a simple and predictable manner. Pricing for the Espada starts at €5000 ($6525 USD) and will range as high as €22,400 ($29,200 USD) for the all gold version. Cheap? Hardly, but if you’re in the market for a beautiful Swiss three-hander with an in-house movement and good heritage then Zenith has priced the Espada to have excellent value in the marketplace. For comparison, consider the 41mm Rolex Datejust II 116334 retails for $8600 USD and features very similar kit, save for its white gold bezel. The Espada, with its combination of an El Primero movement, Zenith’s craftsmanship and a luxurious yet reserved design, is a great-looking sleeper that we would be proud to wear.