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Old 5 April 2012, 11:54 AM   #1
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Zenith El Primero Rainbow Flyback

Besides being a fan of Rolex, I am also a big fan of Zenith.
Just a simple review of one of my favourite watch.
It's none other than the Zenith El Primero Rainbow Flyback, which is the predecessor to the Zenith Stratos Flyback.

Nice 40mm classic case.
They don't make watches like these anymore.
Produced from 1997-2001, only 4000 of these (black dial model) were ever produced making them highly sought after model for Zenith Aficionados.
Priced at around 5800usd to 6000usd for NOS... That's not the price I can afford... until a preowned piece came up at 2/3rd the price... the rest is history... even my plan to get a GMT Master II Ceramic will have to take a back seat...
Initially the plan was to get this, sell my Chronomaster XXT and still be able to get the GMTIIc... but my wife wanted the XXT... another watch got robbed from me... :'(

But enough on all that... let's check this baby out.
Black anodized aluminium bezel. Bi-directional.
Black matte dial.
White indexes and hands.
The whole watch is brushed stainless steel, black and white.
No fancy colours, no polished areas... truly a tool watch look.
Simply beautiful!!

Note the chapter ring is applied with the "Telemeter" scales... I only know "tachymetre"... I will have to check more regarding this.
Since the dial and bezel is black, the black extends all the way to the chapter ring and to the bezel... it actually make this watch bigger than it really is.
Nice touch of filling in every available space on the dial.
It looks really good and balanced.
Even with the 40mm case, the dial have no overlapping sub-dials like the Stratos that seem to annoy alot of ppl.

Pushers and crown are sized just right.
I was abit disappointed that the crown is not signed... a star would be a nice touch.
Winding action is smooth. Pull and push type... no screw in.
I don't know what kind of sorcery Zenith uses but according to the manual, 25 full turns of the crown fully winds the watch at 50 hours of power reserve!!
Chrono pushers are firm and offers a nice click when pressed unlike 7750 clicks that can be a little tough at times.
The case is either brushed or sand blasted, I can't be entirely sure but the finish is excellent.
Minor swirlies associated with daily wear is invisible... unless it's a major ding or a deep scratch... I'd say the finish is perfect for the watch.

The bracelet is solidly constructed, features a butterfly clasp.
The whole bracelet is brushed and matches the case which gives the watch a utilitarian look.
I like it.
The bracelet uses pressure pins for the removable parts.
Unless you have alot of time at hand, changing straps would be OK if you have the right tools...
I would just stick to the bracelet. Comes with 6 fixed links on either side and 4 full removable links and 2 half links.
Took me some time to figure out the perfect fit.

Watch is fitted with a solid caseback.
Nicely engraved. I would have loved a display back to look at the El Primero 405z movement but hey, you can't have it all.

Lastly, a wrist shot.
I have compared this with my Rolex Sub and even at the same case size, this Zenith somehow wears bigger... less shiny due to the brushed area. Does not reflect any light... no bling factor at all... in fact, the watch looks dull...
But the beauty lies in the details.
Double coated AR sapphire makes the watch even duller... lol
Water resistant is rated only at 100m due to the non screw in crown.

I would rate this watch a 9.5 out of 10...

Hope you guys enjoyed reading it.
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Old 5 April 2012, 02:16 PM   #2
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Thanks. Great shots of a classic watch. Us "Z" people do indeed hold that one in high regard. I have the most recent re-issue of the Rainbow from 2010, which was discontinued almost as soon as it was introduced. Yours is the classic, however.

The payments remain long after the novelty has worn off.

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Old 5 April 2012, 02:33 PM   #3
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great post and pics

"Where no counsel is the people fall, but in the multitude of counselors there is safety."

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Old 5 April 2012, 03:02 PM   #4
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Some of those Nataf era designs are pretty cool, just that my puny 6.5inch wrist could not handle it.
Beautiful flyback there as well!!
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Old 5 April 2012, 10:39 PM   #5
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Nice write up. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 7 April 2012, 01:30 AM   #6
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Nice review. My Zenith is one of my favorite watches and the fit/finish is first rate. If I didn't have so many black dialed watches I would own an older rainbow like yours. Classic chrono !


"It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues. " Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865
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Old 10 June 2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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nice write up.

I have the coloured dial version of the same watch and it is still one of my absolute favourites.


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Old 15 June 2012, 12:43 AM   #8
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I owned the same Rainbow flyback ...

twice. Now I'm thinking a third time would be good. Great watch.
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Old 16 September 2012, 06:38 PM   #9
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Great review! My beater Flyback is the colored dial/bezel version.

Originally Posted by Mickey® View Post
It is a known issue that all of the SubC and GMTIIC's movement have reliability issues. Something to do with a spring that was introduced. I expect this to further increase the value of older Submariners and GMTIIs.
Heck why can't I start my own internet rumor and raise the prices of MY WATCHES!!!!
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Old 1 October 2012, 12:02 AM   #10
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Top brand
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Old 6 October 2012, 06:39 AM   #11
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Great watch. Great review. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 26 July 2019, 11:30 AM   #12
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Wanted to add my newly acquired:

just came fro EuropeZenith.jpg
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Old 27 July 2019, 01:36 PM   #13
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Nice review. I was recently offered a NOS of the very same watch at what I thought was a decent price. Something subconsciously stopped me pulling the trigger and then other things got in the way. A very nice watch nonetheless
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