Zenith S.58 | 2542 PC | Steel
The Zenith S.58 was introduced in 1958, as a tool watch expressly designed for military use. According to Manfred Rössler, in his important work on the history of the brand, the Zenith reference ‘S.58’ was developed to have particularly strong resistance to external factors, such as moisture and dust. The original design featured a manual-winding Cal. 120 movement and bezel-less case, of which the entire initial production (2500 pieces) was purchased for the Italian Navy by Cairelli, Rome. Though the watch was intended to be adopted by the military, advertising would suggest that the reference S.58 was also marketed as the ideal ‘technicians’ watch, for reliability and accuracy under a variety of conditions. The reference S.58 was conceived during a golden age of dive watches, with the Rolex Submariner, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and Omega Seamaster offering stiff competition to the lesser-known Zenith.
The designation ‘S.58’, translates to ‘Super Water-Resistant’, by the letter ‘S’ (up to 150 meters diving), and the number ‘58’, in reference to the year of its initial production. The prominent adoption of ‘58’ has led many to speculate the influence of the “International Geophysical Year” – having inspired a number of purposeful wristwatches, aimed at participating scientists.
This example, from the late 1960’s, represents the third generation of the Zenith S.58 (the second to feature an automatic movement). The two earlier generations of the reference S.58, aesthetically, were largely the same (non-date, bezel-less case), though the second received an update in the form of an automatic Zenith Cal. 133.8 movement. The third (and final) variant of the Zenith S.58, boasted a number of technical refinements. Firstly, the automatic Zenith Cal. 2542 PC replaced the Cal. 133.8 - adding a date function and bi-directional rotor (in favour of a bumper). Further to this, the power-reserve also increased, up from 35 h to 43 h in the Cal. 2542 PC.
The 37mm case features a black, rotating Bakelite bezel with elapsed-hour graduations, displaying light patina on the 12 o’clock arrow. Similarly, the applied index markers, numerals and ‘Dauphine’ hands have aged to a creamy yellow patina, offering superb legibility against the black dial. It features a white Zenith logo and applied Star, while 'S.58' is referenced at six o'clock. A 'SWISS MADE' marking is also visible at six o'clock, below the Arabic ‘6’ numeral. Like all original examples, the screw-down case-back features deep engraving; “S.58”, with this third generation example additionally featuring a unique case reference. Interestingly, the case-back was adapted for these later examples, owing to the increased height of the Cal. 2542 PC movement.
This Zenith S.58 comes fitted with a grey leather strap and Zenith steel buckle. The original, Zenith stamped bracelet and clasp are also included (small to size, measuring 12 cm, excluding end-links).
Viewings can be arranged in Central London by appointment.
|Movement:||Mechanical Automatic Cal. 2542 PC|
|Functions:||Date, Hours, Minutes, Center Seconds|
|Features:||Rotating Bakelite Bezel, Unrestored Dial|
|Case:||37 mm Stainless Steel|
|Bracelet:||Grey Leather Strap, Zenith Buckle, Original Bracelet|
|Box & papers:||N/A|
The case is in excellent condition, the lugs display consistent shape/thickness and very minor grazes (consistent with light use). The third generation dial is in great condition, without fading on the white minute markers or the ‘Zenith automatic – S.58’ logo. The lume on the applied minute markers is intact and shows consistent patina, matching the handset ageing. The machined cut-outs in the case back are undamaged, and the trademark S.58 engraving shows strong definition. The crown is unsigned and likely service replacement. The original, Zenith stamped bracelet wears short, measuring 12 cm in length (not including end links).
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