A collaboration between a Swiss watch manufacture and a Japanese manga and anime series is as unique a partnership as they come. But that’s exactly what Zenith did with Lupin The Third, which was so inspired by the El Primero shortly after its launch in 1969 that it decided to include it in the seminal series on two separate occasions. 50 years and two special editions later, Zenith is unveiling the third and final limited edition in the trilogy, the Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third – Final Edition.
Nearly 50 years after the initial airing of the anime series, Zenith finally turned fantasy into reality in 2019 by producing the Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third, using the instantly recognizable A384 tonneau-shaped case and recreating the unusual black dial depicted in the first episode. The following year, the second white and “panda” dial version was released. Now, the third and final limited edition in this exceptional collaboration has arrived, and it couldn’t be more unexpected: both dials in one!
Limited to 250 pieces, the Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third – Final Edition combines two dials, featuring two distinct and asymmetrical halves combining all the elements from both the Zenith chronographs depicted in the first and final episode of the animated series’ first season. On one side, the first Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third edition’s semi-glossy black dial with deep grey counters and golden applied markers and hands, and on the other side, the second edition’s creamy-white dial with contrasting black counters in a “panda” configuration with beige SuperLumiNova. Whimsical, playful and certainly polarizing, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to creating such a singular dial, which presented the teams at the Zenith Manufacture with a new and unprecedented kind of challenge.
A delicate and long process, the blank dial is first finished entirely in a silvery-white colour on the right half, then the black chronograph counters are milled while the rest of the dial is protected with a layer of transparent and colourless lacquer. As the second half of the dial must be painted black, the other white half of the dial is given a protective layer. If the protection isn’t correctly applied, colours can bleed into each other, ruining the dial. Another layer of complexity is added in that a third grey colour must be applied for the counters. With each step in the process, the chances of something going wrong increases. Successfully completing one dial is challenging enough. Reproducing the dual-dial effect with perfectly separated elements for an entire series proved nearly impossible, but the uniquely intriguing result made it well worth the effort.
This truly unequalled dial is housed in a 37mm titanium barrel-shaped case that is a reproduction of the 1969 A384 case in proportions and finish. It’s paired with a titanium ladder bracelet originally designed by the famed Gay Frères company with a distinctly retro touch. Beating within it is the El Primero automatic high-frequency integrated chronograph calibre, visible through the sapphire display back engraved with a drawing of Daisuke Jigen.