The Good Life

Zenith Grande Port Royal

| From Emeril Lagasse, Sept/Oct 2005
Zenith Grande Port Royal

New York City, its skyscrapers, steel bridges, frenetic energy and outsized attitude inspired the Zenith CEO and artistic director Thierry Nataf when he redesigned the Port Royal line of watches in 2003. Now the engines are gunning with a high-octane injection of speed and style in the marque's latest releases, the Open and the Open Concept.

Port Royal watches have always been powered by El Primero, the high-speed automatic integrated chronograph movement that ticks at a blinding 36,000 vibrations an hour. The new models, with their open windows on the faces (hence the name) and exhibition windows on the backs, allow you to peek under the hood at the watch engine that Zenith developed in 1969 to measure short time intervals down to a tenth of a second, a rate that no other chronograph movement has matched. The Open Concept integrates high-tech materials into the package. Zenith likens the precision technology to the speed and power of a Formula 1 race car, and after viewing its complex mechanics it's easy to see why.

On the outside, the Open and the Open Concept capture the body and soul of a vibrant and pulsing metropolis with modern amenities and technology. The body of the Open Concept watch is made of titanium, giving it strength and durability, but also making it light enough to be comfortable on the wrist. The watches' faces are sleek, sporty and stylish, and full of attitude and functionality. Their checkered face patterns—common to the entire Port Royal line—resemble the front of a skyscraper. On the Open Concept, numbers rest on a translucent material called TR90, which gives the face depth and a city-like effect where shadow and light play off each other.

On both models, black varnished hands keep hours and minutes and three-pronged dials at 9 o'clock keep the seconds. The seconds hand, located in the center and the 30-minute counter at 3 o'clock keep lap time, and are controlled by the push buttons on the side of the watch. There is also an 18-carat rose-gold hand in the center to indicate your 55-hour power reserve.

Both the Open and the Open Concept are available in two sizes. The Open Concept features a carbon fiber strap, while the Open straps come in black rubber or black alligator leather. The Open is priced at $7,500, while the Open Concept is listed at $14,500.

Visit www.zenith-watches.com.

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