Forums Latest Auctions Members

Zenith A3630 & Zenith divers at large

  1. MaiLollo

    MaiLollo Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    1,512
    Likes
    4,169
    Buongiorno to everybody,

    Whilst I was doing a bit of research prior to picking up this superbly patinaed example of an A3630, I noticed that info is not really available.

    I've looked around a bit, and what I've understood is that the piece is very rare because, back in the day, Zenith wished to maintain its high-quality standard and refused to create "cheaper" skin divers. Zenith being Zenith, (not the first choice as far as divers are concerned) this piece didn't sell well, like most of the brand's diving timepieces...

    The watch is totally in-house, has a 2542PC movement (an automatic caliber with a non quick set date).
    Size wise, the watch is a perfect 38mm, has a very slender & elegant profile, basically is at home with a suit (not a diving one though :) ). The dial has a really nice texture and a simple layout, the date is between 4 and 5 (classic Zenith), the inner minute track is in a contrasting color. Over the years, two types of hands have surfaced on these watches, the ones on my watch being the most elegant and less diver-esque of the two.

    I wasn't planning on buying an A3630, but when I saw it for sale I couldn't resist. The watch has an all-round incredible patina, from the yellowish minute track to the superbly ghosted bezel, looks unpolished and works like a charm (for now). You really feel it wasn't designed for hardcore diving when you realize the bezel turns in both directions...

    Anyway, I just wanted to post a quick "review" of my latest crush, and create a bit of awereness for a model that remains obscure. But, most of all, I'd like to know if anyone has had/owns one of these beasts? What are your impressions ?

    Cheers!

    IMG_5034.JPG IMG_5035.JPG IMG_5037.JPG IMG_5038.JPG IMG_5039.JPG
     
    Edited Apr 10, 2017
  2. Fost

    Fost Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    2,053
    Likes
    5,710
    Well done , very nice watch !
    I was wondering if the hands were relumed or originale tritium?

    (c'est donc toi qui l'achété ! :))
     
  3. MaiLollo

    MaiLollo Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    1,512
    Likes
    4,169
    Thanks a lot! Oui, j'ai été le plus rapide cette fois :)
    I am unsure about that, but since they glow a bit in dark environments, I'd guess they may have been relumed sometime in the past 49 years of existence of the piece...
     
  4. Tony C.

    Tony C. Ωf Jury member Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    4,499
    Likes
    11,309
    I saw that one. Certainly an attractive watch, but I believe that the hands have been replaced, not simply relumed. The disparity in condition with the bezel is too great for the hands to be original.
     
  5. MaiLollo

    MaiLollo Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    1,512
    Likes
    4,169
    Thanks for your feedback!
    I'm trying to learn more about this piece, why do you think they have been replaced ?
    They look the part to me (patina is consistent and matches the hour indices) but I really have no idea wether it's the case or not. I've seen a very knowledgeable member of a French forum stating they are original, but I have no other "expert" opinions ;)
     
  6. Tony C.

    Tony C. Ωf Jury member Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    4,499
    Likes
    11,309
    Well, perhaps the photo are misleading, but they appear to be much brighter and cleaner than the indexes. In fact, I contacted the seller and requested more photos of the dial for that very reason.

    The other issue is that I don't believe that the relume was not done correctly, and that leads me to question whether the hands are correct. I have only seen one other example with those hands and that style of lume, and am skeptical.

    Here's a link to one that is essentially NOS, and the hands are lumed in a manner that I would expect:

    http://www.imgrum.org/media/1385877516447535991_1401205201
     
    Edited Apr 10, 2017
  7. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    6,977
    Likes
    18,119
    The A3630 is indeed a great and underrated watch.

    Unfortunately correct, Tony. The original hands are arrow hands, common on the Zenith divers. Also, the original lume on the second hand is usually (but I can't tell if always) orange-pink.
    Zenith A diver.JPG
     
  8. Tony C.

    Tony C. Ωf Jury member Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    4,499
    Likes
    11,309
    Thanks Lou. I was going to mention the (far) more typical arrow hands, but wasn't sure whether Zenith used the other style in later versions.
     
  9. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    6,977
    Likes
    18,119
    Dunno myself, but the arrow hands are the ones in the vintage catalogs.
    16nwuo.jpg
    219awzs.jpg
     
    JimJupiter, donashby, PaulC77 and 7 others like this.
  10. sliceoftime_

    sliceoftime_ Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    2,008
    Likes
    27,204
    Lovely watch, the A3630 is certainly a great diver contender.

    That's simply gorgeous! Dibs please bud!
     
  11. MaiLollo

    MaiLollo Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    1,512
    Likes
    4,169
    Again, thanks for your answers.
    I do not want to be pedantic, but I do not get why you say the A3630 only came with arrow hands ?

    http://forumamontres.forumactif.com/t180060-zenith-a3630
    The "Zen" in question has written a book on Zenith (the guy who I mentioned in my previous post) and stated they're correct.

    And I've found other examples with these exact same hands:
    https://www.acollectedman.com/products/buy-zenith-a3630-vintage-divers-watch
    https://www.google.fr/search?q=zenith+a3630&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjPt4LcqZrTAhVJ1xQKHRfsDPIQ_AUICCgB&biw=1524&bih=746#imgrc=Bt9xlUE_J8gQvM:&spf=221

    Isn't it plausible that they were produced with both styles of hands ? A3630.png
     
  12. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    6,977
    Likes
    18,119
    Please read
    I did not say they only came with arrow hands - I've been a collector for too long to commit to absolute statements about Swiss watch production. I pointed out which ones are illustrated in the catalog.

    I do point out that the example that you show in the above post does not have the same hands that your personal example has. Yours has tapered hands which are found across a range of Zenith models, including some of the Primeros, whereas the one in the above picture, and at the Collected Man site, are straight. So possibly Zenith used three different pairs of hands. But only one is in the catalog.
     
    wristpirate likes this.
  13. MaiLollo

    MaiLollo Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    1,512
    Likes
    4,169
    In reading carefully, I've read this ;)

    In all honesty, I think it is going to be difficult to determine if Zenith sold these only with harrow hands or also with other types of hands, but it is true that mine has a different handset than the one in the pic above (but the same than the model in the Google link).
    Let's say that until new light will be shed on this matter, I'm very happy with the homogenous patina of the piece!

    And, luckily, there is more to it than just to it than its hands (like a human being) :D

    So, going back to the original goal of the thread: how do you like your A3630, LouS??
     
  14. Tony C.

    Tony C. Ωf Jury member Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    4,499
    Likes
    11,309
    Can't rule out the possibility, but, as Lou suggests, the waters are murky.
     
  15. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    6,977
    Likes
    18,119
    Down the rabbit hole again!
     
  16. wristpirate

    wristpirate Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    762
    Likes
    2,319
    Nice watch, these wear incredibly well. Love the ghost bezel on yours.

    The hands have been relumed, its a lot greener and brighter than the lume on the hour markers. Perhaps the hands are replacements; their metal parts are cleaner shinier looking than the metal parts of the markers, inconsistent with rest of the watch's condition.

    As @LouS has posted the old catalogues have only photos of the broad arrow hands. I've always believed those to be the correct ones, the vast majority in circulation also have those hands. Various other Zenith divers from the same era have the broad arrow head hands so it makes logical sense for the A3630 to have them too.

    The other set of hands that are seen are perfectly straight (photo below). The ones on your watch are slightly arrowed and perhaps from an El Primero.

    Either way, it's a nice watch so enjoy wearing it.
     
    Zenith_A3630.jpg
  17. wristpirate

    wristpirate Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    762
    Likes
    2,319
    You type fast. I type slow. Beat me to it!
     
  18. wristpirate

    wristpirate Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    762
    Likes
    2,319
    I've seen at least 3 sets of hands on the A3630, one of which has been documented in the old catalogues.

    1. The most common catalogue ones are shiny silver metal broad arrow hands, seen with orange lume chrono paddle. I'll shamelessly use @LouS photo for this
    a3630 lous.jpg

    2. Then the same shape hands broad arrow, but painted black instead of silver metal. Yellow lume chrono paddle.
    Zenith A3630 Black hands.JPG

    3. Perfectly straight rectangular hands, orange lume chrono paddle. Using another photo from collectedman
    a3630 collectedman.JPG

    No dispute the first handset is correct (clearly documented). There are multiple examples of the other 2 handset configurations on the A3630 which leads me to believe they are not random one offs. Nothing scientific, the rectangular hands are the least seen and appear on some of the cleaner looking watches out there.
     
  19. MaiLollo

    MaiLollo Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    1,512
    Likes
    4,169
    It's more or less what I had understood. I'll try to look into it if I have some spare time. Funny thing is that I find my "old weird" one more attractive than NOS ones :D
     
  20. LouS

    LouS Mrs Nataf's Other Son Staff Member Apr 10, 2017

    Posts
    6,977
    Likes
    18,119
    You don't think that's just a trick of reflection? The hour markers look the same.