Zenith and SJX Collaborate on a Funky Reinterpretation of the “Poker Chip”

Do you like funky 1970s inspired dial designs? How about lots of lume? Zenith El Primero fan? I mean, who isn’t? Ok, to be completely fair, the particular watch we’ll be looking at today is the very definition of a niche, limited edition drop that will need to zero in on a very specific type of collector to find a home, but if you happen to be one of those people, this one will check a lot of boxes. The new Zenith Chronomaster Revival “Poker Chip” is the latest in a series of vintage inspired El Primero designs to hit the market, and for this edition the brand has partnered with SJX on the release. Let’s jump in. 

The newly announced Poker Chip is based on a somewhat obscure Zenith reference dating to the late 60s, the G383. In addition to this watch’s fancy lugs, it set itself apart with an incredibly funky multi color dial with sub registers defined by the type of solid lines you’d find on poker chips. The asymmetry of the design feels very much like a product of its time, and if your taste runs toward the clean and minimal, this one likely has you heading for the hills. But the G383, like so many Zeniths of the era, is a great reminder of risks watch designers were willing to take in the 60s and 70s. 

The original G383. Image via Antiquorum

Rather than producing a literal recreation of the G383, Zenith and SJX have (wisely) decided on a modern version filtered through the contemporary design language Zenith has favored recently in a slew of limited editions. The case here is based on the classic A386 silhouette, but has been made in micro-blasted titanium. This is the same material used for the much admired Chronomaster Revival “Shadow,” which can be seen as a cousin of this watch in the more compact A384 case shape. The new Poker Chip marks the first time an A386 case has been made from Zenith’s micro-blasted titanium material, which has a distinctive grey tone somewhere between a natural titanium finish and a black DLC or PVD coating. 

The three register chronograph dial is in the familiar El Primero layout and shares the bones of the G383’s distinctive poker chip design. On the new watch, however, the black and green are the dominant colors, complementing the case nicely, and providing ample opportunity for an impressive lume show when the dial is properly charged and the lights go out. The poker chip patterns themselves have been given a lume treatment, which should create a genuinely psychedelic experience. If that wasn’t enough, the Poker Chip ships with a second strap that is made of luminous material to match the dial. We’re certainly hoping that at least a few of these watches fall into the hands of Instagrammers with high intensity flashlights. 

The Poker Chip is powered by the El Primero Caliber 400, the classic 5 Hz automatic chrono movement that’s the closest thing Zenith makes to the movement that powered the G383. There’s some symmetry here with the movement selection, and according to SJX, there was a desire to make use of the traditional caliber before the newer 3600 movement (which is a significant technological leap forward) begins to dominate Zenith’s chrono lineup. 

The Chronomaster Revival Poker Chip is a limited edition of 200 pieces. It will be sold exclusively on the SJX website for a month before remaining quantities are sold at Zenith boutiques. The retail price is $10,000. Zenith

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.