Zenith Calibre 2542 Automatic 18ct 1966


100% Genuine & All Original

Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed

Large Size 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, Inlaid Batons & ‘Stick’ Hands

Pristine Cal. 2542PC, 25 Jewel, High Grade Automatic Movement

All in Absolutely Top Grade & Simply Stunning Condition

New High Quality Black Crocodile Leather Strap

VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*

VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee

Hardwood Presentation Box included, as shown

Free UK Special Delivery

Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery

Sold 9th March '20
VGW Reference: Z173
Price £2,400 Sold


Out of stock

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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 1950s, 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 saw Zenith produce some of the finest watch movements available from any manufacturer and technically, the company was very advanced. The watch we have here is an excellent example, having a semi hi-beat movement and also a very high grade, single piece 18ct gold watch case, which prevents moisture and dust from either entering the case from the rear, as the case-back is solid and not removable, or via the bezel, since it doesn’t have one! This watch also features a slightly futuristic look to the dial with the date position in the ‘different’ position at 4:30 hours.

The Dial

The Silver ‘Starburst’ dial, 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 advanced, or should we say an avant-garde style, which was so on trend at the time. Zenith adopted the 4:30 hrs date position during this period and this has since become almost a Zenith trademark. It is actually a very sensible spot, 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. This dial is also slightly reminiscent of the Mondaine SSB classic dial design adopted in use by Swiss Railways.

However, perhaps the most notable feature of this dial is its complete originality. The dial has not been restored or retouched in any way. 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 spots be found. This is remarkable for a watch over 50 years old and indicates the watch has seen little real use.

The Movement

The Zenith Calibre 2542PC movement specification is also quite special, beating at 21,600 beats per hour rather than the more usual 18,000 or 19.800. When one listens to this movement ticking, one can definitely hear this is a semi hi-beat movement. 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 ‘6 beat’ because it beats at 6 beats per second. It was a very successful movement used in Zenith’s top of the range automatics, remaining in production between 1964 and 1969.

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, then careful reassembly and oiling, using all the correct lubricants to manufacturer’s specification before final testing and calibration. This watch is therefore now running perfectly having been calibrated and timed at +7 seconds per day! Please note, this timing is outstanding for any watch of this age. The power reserve is still high for a semi hi-beat movement at 49 hours when fully wound. The watch movement is signed Zenith, Swiss Made and carries the Calibre number 2542PC.

The Watch Case

The very high quality 18ct solid yellow gold watch case is also very interesting in that it is a one-piece case, meaning the main body, case-back and bezel are all one piece instead of two or more commonly three. The movement and dial are therefore fitted from the front of the case and held in place by the lens which is fitted and removed using a special lens compression tool. This minimises the potential risks of water entry into the case. The case has been cleaned, carefully inspected and lightly hand-polished by our case maker and shows every sign it has been well cared for and lightly used, with no scratches, dings or other marks visible to the naked eye. The case is signed Zenith, ‘Swiss Made’ and includes the Zenith trademark, along with Swiss 18ct  Hallmarks. The case measures 34mm, not including the Zenith signed crown.

The Strap and Buckle

The strap fitted is a new high quality Black Crocodile Leather strap and plain gold plated buckle. 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 1966.

Detailed particulars will be included with the receipt, along with our 12 months warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also 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 totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.

The watch also comes complete with a high quality hardwood presentation box, as shown in the photographs.

In Conclusion

This is a very impressive and very rare vintage Zenith automatic wristwatch, which is ready to wear and very practical for everyday use. If treated with care, this watch will make an excellent investment or heirloom piece. Zenith has 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 on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before we restore them to the highest possible standards. We then offer our watches at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly 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 payment via PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you would like to pay by UK cheque or by bank transfer, we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving in transaction charges to you.

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

If you have any questions please call on Landline 0207 727 7095 or Mobile 07515 949250 or if calling from overseas on Landline +44 207 727 7095 or Mobile +44 7515 949250.

Please note, we also welcome part exchanges.

Please take a look at our other vintage gold watches.

Thank you.