Johan, Prototype Maker for Movements
In the 19th century in the town of Le Locle, cradle of Swiss watchmaking, the founder of Zenith, a visionary named Georges Favre-Jacot, nurtured the single-minded idea of creating the most precise and reliable watches ever made. He soon realised he would have to revolutionize production methods in order to accomplish this, since the artisans of that era were scattered between small workshops with no ties between them. This made it very hard to promote the progress of such complex mechanisms in which each part interacts with its neighbor.
In 1865 Georges Favre-Jacot
had spacious, light-filled buildings
constructed in order to bring together
all the watchmaking professions
In 1865, Georges Favre-Jacot had spacious, light-filled premises built in order to bring together all the watchmaking professions. The first ever Manufacture was born. This mastery of all production stages under a single roof was a giant leap towards creating complicated watches. Success came swiftly and the Manufacture from Le Locle was soon dispatching the most reliable and accurate watches of the time around the world. Already in the 19th century, the brand achieved worldwide recognition for its mechanical excellence.
"Gravity Control" Module, Academy Christophe Colomb
Moonphase indicator disk
Components being manufactured
To this day, only a small number of watch companies can lay claim to the title of Manufacture, since it implies in-house mastery of all phases in the development and production of movements and timepieces. And it is precisely this mastery that has enabled the Manufacture Zenith to break free of traditional constraints to adopt a free-spirited approach in creating exceptional models that represent landmarks in watchmaking history. Witness the over 300 patents and 600 movement variations developed by the brand with the guiding star – such as the legendary El Primero caliber of the “Gravity Control” gyroscopic module, to mention just two. Onboard watches, pocket watches or wristwatches: Zenith consistently distinguishes itself in the domain of precision. With over 2,333 chronometry (precision timing) prizes to its name, it is the all-time most titled brand in this field.
From the simplest to the complex watch and whether classic, sporty or contemporary for men and women: the Zenith range spans the full spectrum of styles so as to ensure that no desire goes unfulfilled.
Exclusive by nature
Still located in the premises where it was founded a century and a half ago, the Manufacture Zenith currently accommodates 80 different watchmaking professions. Among the many workshops, one bears a name that is inspirational in itself: the one dedicated to Haute Horlogerie. It is here that the most exclusive models are born, embodying a blend of avant-garde innovations and noble watchmaking traditions.
Still operating in the premises
where it was founded, the Manufacture today houses 80 different
watchmaking professions under the same roof
There, bent over his workbench, a watchmaker individually takes apart the hundreds of components of a movement that he has taken several weeks to assemble in order to ensure that they all fit together perfectly. A little further on, each or almost every part is then adjusted, bevelled and decorated – naturally by hand. This is followed by the patient work of the watchmaker who reassembles the caliber, checks it, cleans it – and may in some cases start all over again. Meanwhile, other skilled hands in the workshop proceed to casing-up, cutting a winding-stem to ensure a perfect fit, or gently curving the hands to perfect their aesthetic appeal.
While the work of these artisans with their golden hands fascinates by its blend of virtuoso dexterity and infinitely rigorous care, it should not obscure the fact that it sets the finishing touches to a lengthy process undertaken months or years earlier. A number of workshops are involved along the path leading the first sketches to the very idea of a complication or the kind of original construction that are a Zenith signature. The technical, engineering, design and R&D departments work hand in hand at each of the stages preceding the production of an exceptional timepiece. Each part, however small, is important here. Nothing must be left to chance in ensuring that the watch will run to perfection.