Founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot, Zenith is one of the oldest Swiss watch makers in the world. The company was located in Le Locle when founded and the founder was only 22 years old when he started the brand. They first focused on precision pocket watches and expanded to clocks and pendulum clocks, as well as of course would move into marine and flight chronometers and wrist watches. The brand has always strived to offer a large range of styles, appealing to many tastes, but renowned for high precision and accuracy. The brand has won more than 2300 awards for precision alone, are famous for making all their own movements in-house, and of course hold over 300 patents for technical achievements and designs.
Favre-Jacot was certainly instrumental in helping develop watchmaking and ushering it into the modern age. During a period where watches were made by combining parts that were made in small workshops, or by independent artisans, having a process and manufacturing that built all these essential components within the same facility was quite impressive. This first watchmaking operation was ahead of the curve and showing the exquisite nature of precision made it all the more amazing.
The name, Zenith, was taken from the founder’s inspiration of the night sky, and it reminded him of the interlocking parts in timepiece movements, the term means the highest point reached in the celestial sphere and had great meaning since he felt he was at a pinnacle of success with his company. The brand later added a five-point star to the logo. While the brand has always been well respected for the high precision and quality, it has been through a number of changes throughout the company history.
The company passed from Favre-Jacot to this nephew and son-in-law in 1911 and they expanded the brand internationally. As they produced more timepieces in 1915 and continued through the years to innovate and expand, they merged in 1969 with Mondia and Movado, together the brilliant release of the El Primero emerged. That timepiece collection is still one of the most popular today. In 1971 Zenith was taken over by the Zenith Radio Corporation in Chicago, and at the time they were the leader in radio and electronics in the USA. They used the brand experience to market quartz movements exclusively and led the way to removing mechanical movements all together. Fortunately for the brand, Charles Vermot disagreed with the direction and he concealed the design as well as the tools and machines needed to continue manufacturing of the El Primero or it would have been lost and we might not ever have known for generations today.
Swiss company Dixi acquired Zenith late in the 70’s and manufacturing resumed on the El Primero and the company began releasing watches again in 1984. In 1999 the brand took on a new path as they entered the realm of luxury watches and joined with others under the LMVH, Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE brand. In 2015 the brand celebrated a 150th anniversary. While the changes in leadership and direction took on many faces during the years, the brand has always been committed to excellence and never wavered on precision and quality.
Today the brand stands strong and producing stylish luxury timepieces that can settle on any wrist, and remain true to the passion and philosophy the brand has always stood for. Finding the right timepiece for you is a matter of preference, but lucky that they have always provided a great selection.