Zenith celebrates 50th anniversary of legendary El Primero with pop-up exhibition in Singapore

The exhibition will be held in front of Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza on Orchard Road.

El Primero is the world’s first automatic chronograph movement (All photos: Zenith)

Swiss luxury watchmaker Zenith is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the brand’s legendary calibre, the El Primero, with an immersive pop-up exhibition in Orchard Road, Singapore’s busiest shopping belt. Across a 400 sq m space right in front of Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza, A Star Through Time runs until Sept 1 and allows members of the public to explore the fascinating story behind the El Primero, the world’s first automatic chronograph movement. The exhibition also commemorates the first anniversary of Le Monde Étoilé de Zenith, a uniquely interactive journey through the past, present and future of the Zenith manufacture.


The El Primero watch

Launched in 1969, the El Primero disrupted the watchmaking world, which saw many brands compete to roll out the next big horological innovation. Facing stiff competition, Zenith ultimately triumphed with the El Primero movement. The façade of the big marquee, which houses the exhibition, has been transformed to resemble that of the Zenith manufacture in Le Locle, Switzerland. Enter the exhibition to discover a retrospective of the movement’s half-century story of innovation and precision, as vintage El Primero pieces and other exclusive timepieces come together to tell the tale.

The Le Monde Étoilé showcase was conceptualised with the Neuchâtel tourism office to promote the region’s rich watchmaking history. Zenith engaged museography specialists to create a unique watchmaking experience for the general public and offer them an opportunity to understand the mechanical watch and its mysteries. Specially created interactive displays create a dynamic juxtaposition of heritage and evolution, allowing visitors to dive deeper into Zenith’s history and to witness the inner workings of a watchmaking maison.


Guests can create interactive photos with 3D displays and props as they take an experiential step back into history with a 3D setup of the secret attic

Enthusiasts of watchmaking will also be enchanted by the legendary tale of how watchmaker Charles Vermot safeguarded the tools necessary for the manufacture of El Primero in the attic of the Zenith manufacture. Guests can create interactive photos with 3D displays and props as they take an experiential step back into history with a 3D setup of the secret attic. And to get a real feel of the Zenith watches, a pit stop at the open-concept watch bar is a must.

For connoisseurs wanting to up their game, specially curated watchmaking clinics will be held over the weekend.


Access to both the exhibition and the watchmaking clinics are free, but reservations are required for the latter by emailing zenithmbs.singapore@zenith-watches.com.

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