Zenith Watch History – Built on Integrity & Still Visible Today
For the past 150 years, Zenith created watches that cultivates beauty and total precision without fear of failure. Whenever you wear a Zenith watch, all of your senses and emotions will awaken to the sight of a valuable, elegant Zenith watch. For years to come, Zenith will create new watches while keeping true to the founding values: beauty, truth, integrity, precision, and mastery over complexity. Zenith was founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot, who, at the young age of 22, was one of the first watch-makers to understand the importance of the principle of interchangeable parts. At that time, Zenith was one of only a few watchmakers that manufactured complete watches. Favre-Jacot produced these watches using up-to-date machinery and tools that he built himself. Its said that one night after Jacot finished a movement he considered almost perfection he went out and looked at the stars and he felt the cosmos almost speak to him, he saw the gigantic constellation turning around the Pole star similar in the complexity to the movements of the pivots and the wheels on their axes, he decided then to call his new movement and its manufacture after the word that designates the highest point in the universe, Zenith, the star was adopted as a brand symbol as it is still today. By the time Jacot retired in 1929, Zenith had made watch history, winning grand prix medals for timekeeping precision at international expositions in Geneva, Paris, Barcelona, and Neuchatel. In 1969, the company won renown for introducing the world's first automatic chronograph movement, the El Primero. Oscillating at 36,000 alternations per hour, the El Primero was able to measure short time intervals to a tenth of a second, an unsurpassed world record. It was fundamental for Zenith to achieve this “high frequency” movement before the competition by proposing the first integrated automatic chronograph caliber. Many gave up remaining to 28’800 vibrations but Zenith continued to push its initial project anticipating that the high frequency would counterbalance the underestimated competition of the quartz. On January 10, 1969, the new caliber 3019 PHC “El Primero” – with 29.33mm diameter and with thickness of 6.5mm, was officially launched. It was the first of its kind – and 40 years later – the only integrated chronograph caliber with automatic winding in both directions thanks to a central rotor on ball bearings. The caliber is acclaimed as the world’s only chronograph with a heart beating at 36,000 vibrations per hour, thus enabling accuracy to within the nearest tenth of a second. In 1995, Zenith launched a new generation of ultra-thin chronographs, the Elite, recently voted best mechanical movement by the professional press. Since its beginning, Zenith has been recognized with more than 1,565 first observatory prizes in chronometry, making it the Swiss brand most rewarded for precision. Zenith has garnered more than 1,500 international watch-making awards and continues to produce wristwatches of distinction.