This or That: Daytona or El Primero Chronomaster

Ryan Yip This or That, Watches Leave a Comment

An age-old question, “should I buy the Daytona or El Primero?”, “Which one is better?”

Some say “Are you kidding me? Daytona all the way! Who cares about a Zenith watch?”

Some may say “El Primero, because Rolex is all hype, and if you understand the history behind both watches, El Primero will be the better choice here.”

Today we are going to dissect both watches and show you the value each holds.


Buy what moves youThis series is only for you to take a look at two watches’, that was picked by me, strong suits and weaknesses. There are so many more options on the market that you should consider as well. Wearing watches, in the end, is about your personal experience with the watch rather than wearing it for other’s validation. When you found a watch that moves you and gives you the chills and shivers in a positive way, don’t overthink, trust your gut!

Candidate #1: Daytona 11650

Under normal circumstances, or to the general audience, Daytona should be their choice here. What can I say? Rolex really knows how to sell watches!

Rolex Daytona 40mm Panda White Index Dial Ceramic Bezel NEW for ...
Rolex Daytona 11650


  • Highly recognizable
  • High resale value (obviously)
  • Non-overlapped subdial
  • A much more distinctive design with various versions of Daytona
  • Superluminova


  • Way more expensive than an El Primero
  • Cheaper ones usually come in two colors only while El Primero has a tri-color subdial design
  • Some may dislike the screw-down pusher

Candidate #2: El Primero Chronomaster

Review - Zenith 50 Years of El Primero Anniversary Set (Specs & Price)
El Primero A386 (source: Monochrome)

If you are a horophile, you will know right away why El Primero and Daytona would even be a matchup in the first place.


  • Storied. The Daytona movement up until 2000 was using El Primero’s.
  • Tri-color subdials
  • Available in both 38mm and 42mm
  • Less expensive than Daytona 11650 ($6, 700)
  • An iconic part of horology history


  • Under the radar. For some, this is a pro but still hurts sometimes when people undervalue your watch because they don’t know about it…
  • The folding buckle strap may feel a bit… iffy
  • Less evolutionary than Rolex’s Daytona
  • Low resale value

If I were to dive deeper, this comparison should not even have happened. While Daytona itself may have fame and popularity, El Primero isn’t just one watch, its movement was widely used in a lot more watches in Zenith’s collection (e.g. El Primero Minute Repeater).

Rolex represents Swiss mightiest watchmaking legend while Zenith comes with a story of the underdog; Rolex is a status symbol while Zenith gives its owner a silent satisfaction, but when it comes down to these two chronographs, which one would you choose?

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