First produced in 1932, Calibre 281 is part of a family of important chronograph movements, including the first ever wristwatch chronograph with a calendar complication. These movements were produced with Martel and shared with Zenith. They featured Martel's variable diameter technology, which used larger plates to increase the size of the movement from 12 ligne to 13.5 (also called 14) ligne.
There were many variants on the basic Cal. 281 movement, and production lasted more than half a century. All were 4.58 mm high but diameter varied from 12 ligne to 13.5 ligne. All beat at 18,000 A/h and ran for 36 hours. The Cal. 38x variants have a flat hairspring rather than Breguet. There were also later Cal. 48x versions.
Zenith named their versions of these calibres for their size in ligne.
- Breguet hairspring
- Universal Calibre 281/Zenith Calibre 122 - 12 ligne (also available in compax and tri-compax)
- Universal Calibre 282 - 12.25 ligne
- Universal Calibre 283/Zenith Calibre 136 - 13 ligne
- Universal Calibre 284 - 13.5 ligne
- Flat hairspring
- Universal Calibre 381 - 12 ligne (also available in compax and tri-compax)
- Universal Calibre 383 - 13 ligne
- Later model
- Universal Calibre 481
- Hours, minutes
- 60 second, 30 minute, 12 hour counters
- Optional full calendar module
- Day at 10 30
- Date hand at 12 00 (set by pusher at 8 00)
- Month at 1 30 (set by pusher at 10 15)
- Moon phase at 12 00 (set by pusher at 9 45)