The tall, narrow building in Le Locle, with close-up high windows to reveal the daylight, demonstrates Zenith's history as independent manufacturing in the enterprising spirit of the industrial revolution. The company, set up in 1865 by George Favre-Jacot as a watch assembly workshop, has made and distributed every watch type, from the simple pocket watch to the most complicated calendar. But it is still primarily associated with the caliber ‘El Primero’, the first chronograph around the wrist with automatic winding technique and a frequency of 36,000 vibration per hour. Only few watchmakers had ever ventured to such a high vibration frequency - and none of them with a complication like the integrated chronograph mechanism and the two-sided exciting rotor of the ‘El Primero’. However, the fact that this caliber has gained its fiftieth birthday is due to the revival of the mechanical watch.
The new beginning
After Zenith was sold to the LVMH Group in 1999, the label was thoroughly dusted and perhaps modified a little too much. With eccentric creations, this obsessive watchmaker of all watchmakers suddenly found itself in the shining world of the ‘Haute Horlogerie’. For the 150th anniversary of the company in 2015, their historic building in Le Locle was also dusted. And their beautiful workplace was incorporated into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2009. In the building there are more than eighty different crafts. New materials and new machines may be used, but faith in tradition remains one of the most important features of the brand with the star. That is the course set by Jean-Frédéric Dufour during the recession, followed by his successor Aldo Magada, who goes on the circuit and even in the stratosphere to demonstrate the character and style of the company's products.
Take a look at our selection of Zenith watches below.