1. Zenith became the first “in-house” watch manufacturer.
As a result of the founder, Georges Favret-Jacot’s vast experience in the watchmaking business, he put together the world’s first in-house movement manufacturing plant in 1911. The facility was equipped with all the necessary tools. Equipment such as rolling mills, foundry, and dial making units. This ensured the company that it oversaw the whole production process from start to finish. This very same building located in Le Locle is today still operational and listed by UNEsco as a world heritage site.
2. Zenith’s Brand name wasn’t official until 1911
In astronomy the term Zenith is used to refer to a point at which a celestial body is directly overhead an observer. The term is also used to refer to a point where something or someone is most powerful or successful. The Brand wasn’t officially named Zenith until 1911 after the completion of the world’s first watch manufacturing plant in Le Locle. The founder, a visionary, saw the name to be fitting to a brand that will revolutionize the watch industry.
3. 1969 was the Tipping Point for the Zenith Brand.
This was a historical year in the watchmaking industry. Not only for Zenith but it was also the year of the first moon landing. It was a major year for Zenith as it was the year El Primero movement was born. This unveiling of not only the world’s first automatic chronograph movement but also the most accurate timekeeping movement of its era propelled Zenith into legendary status. The automatic chronograph is ubiquitous today, but designing one had proven to be extremely difficult, thanks to the fact that the automatic winding system and chronograph gearing occupy the same place in a watch, and so until that year, chronographs were all manually wound. Zenith’s El Primero was not only a fully integrated (that is, non-modular) full rotor self-winding chronograph caliber. It was also a high-frequency movement, beating at 36,000 vph and therefore capable of measuring intervals as short as 1/10th of a second.
4. Zenith was saved by a cooperate act of disobedience.
During the quartz revolution a lot of mechanical watch manufacturers stop producing their old models in favor of the new hip quartz technology. Zenith’s parent company wasn’t about to be left behind and so the US-based owners ordered that the dies and punches, previously used, be destroyed to make space for the new equipment. One defiant employee however decided to hide them instead. A few years later, this move saved the company. Zenith decided to revert back to mechanical watches after its full embrace of quartz technology nearly destroyed the brand and was able to gain traction instantly due to the saved manufacturing dies.
5. Zenith watches undergo the most rigorous test
Zenith has always been at the forefront of extreme sports and pushing for the impossible. In order to be confident that their watches stay true to this longstanding company philosophy, they undergo some of the most extensive tests in the world. Their biggest and most successful and sold product, the El Primero, was strapped to the landing gear of a Boeing 707 passenger plane. The flight went from Paris to New York. Despite the jerks and jolts of the plane during take-off and landing, the watch was unscathed. It was still keeping time and the message was clear, they not only elegant timepieces but also indestructible.
6. Zenith is the most decorated watchmaker on the planet
Zenith enters it’s first watchmakers competition in 1903 and won. Since they have won 2233 awards to date to be exact. The awards are given to companies that show excellence and performance. Some of the notable categories the company has excelled in were the pocket-watch and wristwatch.
That’s our take on the incredible brand that is Zenith. This is surely a brand that belongs in your collection soon or later if you appreciate horology heritage and history! We have a wide variety of Zenith watches in stock. Please go visit our new website and look at the timepieces available. All Zenith watches can be found on this link