150th anniversary



For Zenith, 2015 is an important year in that the brand with the guiding star is celebrating its 150th anniversary. An ideal occasion on which to take a panoramic look back across its history, the revolutions it has created and the feats it has accompanied. Also an opportunity to recall that none of this would have been possible without the talent and skill of its artisans, nor without the enterprising spirit cherished by the Manufacture since its beginnings.

ZENITH: ALWAYS ONE STEP AHEAD

In 1865, 22 year-old Georges Favre-Jacot created one of the first industrial watch manufacturing facilities. His purpose was to regroup the many watchmaking crafts under one roof in order to produce watches in their entirety. In parallel, Georges Favre-Jacot revolutionised watchmaking by creating components that were interchangeable whatever the movement.

A WHOLE PLANET TO BE DISCOVERED

From 1870 onwards, George Favre-Jacot began traveling around the world to sell his watches. As of 1900, he entrusted his nephew and son-in-law Jämes Favre with touring the markets in order to evaluate their profitability and their development potential. Zenith thereby developed one of the watch industry’s earliest distribution networks. Subsequently, various commercial contracts, especially with railway and airline companies, substantially fostered the brand’s global reach.

FRIENDS PAST AND PRESENT

A loyal partner in countless challenges for the past 150 years, Zenith has always been right alongside those who constantly push back human limits. Whether taking off with Louis Blériot, marking the prayer times of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, experiencing unique thrills with Felix Baumgartner, sailing with Spindrift racing, performing on stage with The Rolling Stones, or racing at the wheel of classic cars: the interaction with these daring individuals has always been embedded in the very genes of the Manufacture.

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THE ALL-CONQUERING SPIRIT

The only true conquerors are front-runners who display a daring approach. Zenith’s enterprising spirit and the innovation that has always stemmed from it go hand in hand with the conquests it has accompanied. Whether on land, in the air or at sea, the Manufacture was involved in the technological breakthroughs and the challenges taken up by the heroes of its time throughout the 20th century.

CHRONOMETRIE: AIMING FOR PERFECTION

Zenith soon became involved in the race for precision, to the point of making it an immutable quality objective extending beyond its participation in competitions. Between 1903 and 1968, Zenith won prestigious prizes for the excellence of its calibres, filed more than 300 patents and created legendary calibres interpreted in over 600 different versions.

HAUTE HORLOGERIE ACCORDING TO ZENITH

Zenith has consistently displayed outstanding expertise in the development and production of exceptional models, with one particularly striking recent example being the Academy Christophe Colomb Hurricane and its self-regulating gyroscopic module. Named Gravity Control, the latter serves to maintain the regulating organ in a horizontal position however the watch is tilted, so as to generate the best possible precision. The movement is also equipped with fusée and chain transmission compensating for the variations in the force of the barrel as the latter unwinds.

A BIG REVOLUTION IN A SMALL WORLD…

On January 10th 1969, Zenith presented its automatic El Primero calibre. This world-first movement was equipped with an integrated chronograph equipped with a column wheel and beating at the high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour ensuring tenth-of-a-second precision. The El Primero calibre soon became a legend and remains unrivalled in the realm of precision. This movement has constantly evolved over the years and been enriched with various horological complications as well as avant-garde mechanisms that have earned it many distinctions.

ELEGANCE AND THE ART OF WATCHMAKING

Zenith has always been a Manufacture attuned to its times. From the start of the 20th century, it began cooperating with artists of the Art Nouveau movement, and subsequently with proponents of Art Deco, whether in terms of its advertising or its image. For Zenith, ladies’ watches are an anthem to femininity, an ongoing romance regularly nurtured by new “declarations of love” and a timeless affirmation admirably embodied in the Star 33 mm collection.

TO THE NEXT 150 YEARS!

While 150 years undoubtedly represent an exceptional slice of history that is well worth celebrating, nostalgia has no place at the Manufacture Zenith, which continues to write history. The daring attitude and the enterprising spirit cherished by the brand with the guiding star are conveyed through new territories to be conquered, fresh chapters to be written, as well as new struggles in which to engage.

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