Paint It Black: Zenith (And I) On Tour With The Rolling Stones
by Nancy Olson
It had been a long time since I’d been to a rock concert, let alone experience “the greatest rock band of all time.”
So when Zenith offered me two tickets to the Dallas leg of the Rolling Stones’ multi-city North American Zip Code Tour at AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys), I jumped at the chance. I sprung them on my husband, who was equally excited about taking an overnight trip from our home in Houston.
He’d last been to a Stones concert in (astonishingly) the 1970s and raved about their rousing close at the time, “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” which I’d venture to guess was performed through a bit of a haze.
Did I mention it was the 1970s?
I joked that they probably opened with that number now, since, given the ages of the guys – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and Charlie Watts – they’d probably be too tired to perform it at the end.
The Zenith-Stones connection
If you’ve kept up with Zenith, you know that in the ongoing celebration of its 150th anniversary this year, the company partnered with the Rolling Stones to produce some watches, the most recent of which is the new 1,000-piece limited edition El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tribute to The Rolling Stones – a 45 mm black DLC-coated titanium number.
As part of the partnership, Zenith is following the band throughout much of its 2015 North American tour, which began in California and ends in Quebec.
Though I was already familiar with the press materials surrounding the newest tribute watch, I had a chance to see it in person at a pre-concert cocktail party at the stadium. The gathering was hosted by the very engaging Cedric Laroche, Zenith’s brand director in North America, and Hennessy – the “H” in the LVMH group, of which Zenith is a part.
Rock and roll detailing
This watch from the “Open” line features an exhibition window around 11 o’clock for a snapshot view of the El Primero 4061 chronograph movement. The see-through case back, in addition to showing the movement, also frames the engraving of the famous Stones’ “red tongue” logo and “The Rolling Stones Edition” inscription.Zenith El Primero Chronomaster 1969 Tribute to The Rolling Stones
The hands on the mostly black dial are meant to echo the shape of the fret board on the Fender Telecaster guitar played by Richards, while the snailed finish of the minute circle, as well as the 30-minute and 12-hour counters at 3 and 6 o’clock respectively, are designed to recall the grooves on a vinyl record.
The strap is black rubber with Barenia calfskin lining, which is embossed with the “tongue” logo and the Union Jack. Understand that in someone else’s hands, all this iconography could easily have resulted in overindulgence, but I will attest that the watch is tastefully executed and it’s a fun tribute to a once-in-a-century band.
Apparently, it’s packaged in a Stones-inspired, red-lined presentation box, but I’ve not yet seen it.
After a Hennessy-inspired drink or two, we made our way to our seats, which were not far from the stage. And when the lights finally dimmed and the first few chords of “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” filled my ears, I gave my husband that “told you so” look and steeled myself for a phone-in.
But Jumbotrons don’t lie. The guys looked amazing and sounded even better, and the performance – plus encore – lasted more than two hours. Mick et al were on point for the duration of about 15 songs from “Start Me Up” to “Brown Sugar,” and ending with “Satisfaction,” while the crowd of more than 55,000 people (of every age) never sat down.
The back-up band and singers were incredible, adding to an overall “show band” performance that’s light years away from the pub-based appearances that got the Stones on their feet more than 50 years ago.
Zenith and the Rolling Stones are two brands with great history and timeless presence, and I, for one, am glad they got together. I’d love to figure out how to score a few more tickets.
For more information, please visit www.zenith-watches.com/en_en/el-primero-chronomaster-1969-tribute-to-the-rolling-stones.
Case: 45 x 14.05 mm, black DLC-coated titanium
Movement: automatic Caliber El Primero 4061 with silicon pallet lever and escape wheel, 5 Hz (36,000 vph), C.O.S.C.-certified
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; chronograph
Limitation: 1,000 pieces