Zenith Cal.408 Automatic AF/P Quickset 18ct 1971


100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed

Size Large 34mm, excluding the Zenith Crown

A Beautifully Well Cared For and Lightly Used Example

Mint Condition 18ct Solid Gold Zenith Swiss Fully Signed Case

Original, Unrestored Silver ‘Starburst’ Dial with Inlaid Batons & ‘Stick’ Hands

Pristine Cal.408, 28 Jewel, High Frequency Automatic Movement

All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition

Zenith Presentation Box Included, as Shown

New, Black Lizard Strap with Gold Plated Buckle

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Free UK Special Delivery

VGW Reference: Z735
Price £2,800


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Zenith is one of the oldest watch manufacturers, est.1865 and one of only a handful which has always produced its own movements. The company has an almost unparalleled record of technical achievements and notably in 1929, Zenith won world renown at Kew Observatory (England), when a Zenith wristwatch won first prize for an accuracy of better than 0.6 seconds per day. During the late 1940s and throughout the ’50s, Zenith held the lead in producing the most commercially successful and technically advanced, chronograph wristwatches. Later, Zenith became the first in 1969, to develop a high-frequency automatic integrated column-wheel chronograph powered by the legendary El Primero movement beating at 36,000 vibrations per hour. This obsession with precision, as well as this constant quest for technical innovation, has been duly rewarded; the Manufacture has been awarded 2,333 chronometry prizes as well as eight medals, making it the most titled brand in the field of precision. The company has also provided a huge number of movements to many other manufacturers for their more technically advanced watches, including even Rolex for their Daytona Chronograph!


The 1960s and ‘70s saw Zenith produce some of the finest watch movements available from any manufacturer and from a technical standpoint their watch movements were very advanced. The watch we have here is an excellent example, having a superb Swiss made 18ct case and a 36,000 beats per hour, AF/P High Frequency Precision automatic movement. Zenith was the first company to successfully introduce such movements to the market. Please see below.

The Dial

The silver ‘starburst’ dial, here with gold and black inlaid batons and matching original ‘stick’ hands is in the classic 1960s, slightly high-tech style. On point, the date position at 4:30 hours suggests the watch was an advanced, or could we perhaps say an avant-garde style, which was on-trend at the time. Zenith adopted the 4:30 hrs date position during this period and this has since become a Zenith trademark. It is actually a very sensible position for a date window since as one rotates the wrist to view the date, the 4:30 through to 6 is the first portion of the dial to reveal itself.

The style of the dial is slightly reminiscent of the ‘Mondaine SSB’ classic station clock design, adopted by Swiss Railways.

The most notable features of this dial are its outstanding condition and its complete originality. The dial has not been restored or retouched in any way and even more remarkably, it is in top condition and shows no signs of ageing visible to the naked eye. Only very close up, under high magnification can some of the slightest signs of scratching and some very light spots be found which is remarkable for a 50 year old watch and indicates the watch has seen little real use.

The Movement

The Zenith Cal.408 movement specification is very special, beating at 36,000 beats per hour, rather than the hi-beat at 28,000, the semi-hi-beat at 21,600, or the more usual 18,000 or 19.800. This really is state of the art, even by modern-day standards. The only other notable brand producing movements which run this fast today is Seiko in its Grand Seiko family of watches. When one listens to this movement ticking, one can really hear this is a hi-beat movement racing. Generally speaking the higher the beats per hour, the higher the accuracy of the movement, all other factors remaining the same. This movement is also known as the ‘10 beat’ because it beats at 10 beats per second. The example we see here, with a date function, is one of the first of this model produced and this movement was used in Zenith’s top of the range automatics, between 1972 and 1976.

The movement has just been thoroughly overhauled and serviced by our watchmaker. This means fully dismantling the watch and movement, ultrasonic cleaning of all parts, inspection to the critical surfaces under high magnification and replacement as required with genuine new original parts, careful reassembly and oiling, using all the correct Moebius 9415 lubricants to manufacturer’s specification, before final testing and calibration. This watch is therefore now running perfectly having been calibrated and timed at +4 seconds per day! This timing is outstanding for any watch of this age. The power reserve is still high for a hi-beat movement at 40 hours when fully wound. The watch movement is signed ‘Zenith’, ‘Swiss Made’ and carries the Calibre number 408 and ’28 Jewels’.

The Watch Case

The Swiss made case is of a very high quality two-piece construction in 18ct solid yellow gold. It is stylish, sturdy and highly elegant and measures 34mm, not including the Zenith signed crown. The screw-down case-back is of full thickness and has never been engraved.

The case has been cleaned and carefully inspected and then lightly hand-polished by our case-maker and shows every sign it has been well cared for and lightly used. There are no scratches, dings or other marks visible to the naked eye. The case is Zenith signed, with ‘Swiss Made’ and includes with Swiss 18ct hallmarks.

As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.

The Strap and Buckle

The strap fitted is a new high-quality black Lizard strap with a gold plated buckle. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige, free of charge. We carry tan, conker, dark brown burgundy and black straps in stock, in plain padded leather, alligator, crocodile or lizard skin.

The Box and Papers

Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating the watch to circa 1971.

Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.

The watch also comes complete with the Zenith presentation box as shown in the photographs.

In Conclusion

This is a hugely impressive and very rare vintage Zenith gent’s dress watch, which is ready to wear, very practical for everyday use and one which if treated with care, will make an excellent investment or heirloom piece. Zenith have always benefitted from a first class reputation for the superb quality of their watch movements and just as in the case of Longines, which have been undervalued in the past, this is beginning to show in the way Zenith watches are increasing in value.

A word about our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring these to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach inevitably means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are a number of well-known stores in West London which are very successful, charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.

We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you wish to pay by bank transfer, we will be pleased to pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or International Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.

Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and unfortunately out of our control.

We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges, however attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.

For those that happen to visit the UK on occasion we are of course more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and your watch directly to you there.

Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.

We welcome part exchanges and if you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.

We will be happy to Service, Repair or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.

If you have any questions, please call our landline 020 7727 7095. If calling from overseas our landline number is +44 207 727 7095.

We will be happy to answer any questions and offer advice about this or any of our watches listed for sale. If you would like some general advice regarding any aspect of vintage watches, including buying, selling, or collecting, we will also be very happy to hear from you. We await your call!

Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine vintage gold watches!

Thank you.