Blackbird Watch Manual Vol.5
Starting with our cover story, we were attracted to the rich history of Zenith’s legendary El Primero, which was the first automatic mechanical chronograph and one of the first commercialised high frequency calibres. There is a fascinating story on how it survived from quartz crisis and return strongly in the 80s, and is exemplified in today’s Chronomaster Sport and Defy Extreme collections.
Beyond watchmaking, we examine the human aspect of speed, and how it can become a raison d’être through several generations such as with the Campbell family. It is not about the pure performance aspect, either; the Futurism movement in the art world was often influenced by elements of speed, which are more abstractly represented in the works from people such as Marinetti, Balla, and Boccioni, to name but a few.
Speed can be a celebration, as it is with the modern Mille Miglia, which has its roots in a race but is now more akin to a parade of the legendary cars of yesteryear. And we could not examine speed without a look back at the Concorde, the supersonic plane that was heralded as the future of aviation, promising to bring the world closer together through high-speed travel before ultimately falling victim to global circumstances.
Speed in itself is only one part of what makes us dream and drives us forward. We need to think of an equilibrium, similar to that achieved in mechanical wristwatches, which have to consider the impact that pure performance has on longevity and usability. We take the opportunity to dream of ways that we can also wind down from the pure exhilaration that speed provides.