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The Good Life

Zenith Rose Gold Class Elite

| By Mark Weissenberger | From Steve Wynn, Jan/Feb 03

Sometimes understatement expresses your sense of time best. In an era when so many wristwatches shout "hey, look at me" with large profiles and bold designs, Zenith's Rose Gold Class Elite Automatic with Power Reserve recalls a time in watch history -- the 1940s -- when elegance was a function of simple designs and extra flat watch faces.

The newest model in the company's Elite line is all understatement. Protruding but a slim 9.04 millimeters off the wrist, its most vocal proclamation comes by way of a subtle blush-red tint within the gold. The alloy that achieves this unique hue is 5N gold, or red gold, which contains 25 percent copper. No crusting with jewels for the Rose Gold Class Elite Automatic, either. The watch has a sober silver guilloche watch face with a grained center.

Despite its diminutive stature, the wristwatch packs 180 components into its tiny frame, and each is responsible for between five and 50 operations. All Class Elite watches are powered by automatic movements of 28,800 vibrations per hour, a figure that translates into precise timekeeping. The watch's power comes from the motion of the wearer; in effect, the slightest movement winds the watch. The Power Reserve function of the Rose Gold Class Elite Automatic allows the timepiece to keep ticking for up to 50 hours without movement. Uncertain of how long your watch has stayed still? Just check the Power Reserve gauge on the watch face.

Zenith is one of just four watchmakers in the world that craft every bit of their timepieces in-house. Every Class Elite wristwatch is created through the combined efforts of 15 specialist watchmakers and requires approximately six months to complete. The Rose Gold Class Elite Automatic with Power Reserve comes with a black crocodile strap and retails for $7,900.

Minimalist design is not the only reason you might not know of Zenith. The Swiss company (pronounced to rhyme with Kenneth) has been around since 1865, but its watches only became available through U.S. retailers in the summer of 2001. The watchmaker is not to be confused with the electronics company that makes televisions that are "slightly ahead of their time." Well, they got the slight part right, anyway.

Visit www.zenith-watches.com or call 800-321-4832.

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