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A short history of Zenith

The current ownership of Zenith

Zenith belongs to the absolute elite of Swiss luxury watchmakers, but became a subsidiary of French LVHM luxury group in 1999. Despite this, Zenith is still a Swiss brand since its fulfills all the criteria of being Swiss Made. Zenith’s movements are manufactured and assembled in Switzerland and the final inspection of their movements and watches takes place in Switzerland.

The origins of Zenith

In 1865, Georges Favre-Jacot established Zenith, in Le Locle, in Neuchâtel in Switzerland. He united several watchmaking professions under one and the same roof, which was completely unheard of in the world of watchmaking. From the very outset, Zenith took an industrialized and modern approach to watchmaking.

The manufacture of Zenith

Zenith has a long history of watchmaking dating back to 1865. Zenith has developed more than 600 different movements and has received over 300 patents. The Swiss brand has won well over 2,000 chronometry prizes in accuracy and precision.

80 watchmaking professions can be found under one and the same roof. The El Primero watches, or the El Primero collection (not to be confused with the El Primero movement), take approximately 9 months to manufacture.

Zenith is also one of the very first Swiss watchmakers that produced wristwatches in the early 20th century.

The legendary in-house made El Primero movement beats at 36.000 vibrations per hour

El Primero, which was launched in 1969, is used for chronographs and complications. In the past, some Rolex watches, such as Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona, actually used Zenith’s El Primero movement.

This in-house made movement is famous because it’s one of the world’s first automatic chronograph movements. Zenith made automatic chronographs long before Breitling launched its very first in-house made automatic chronograph movement Breitling 01, in 2009.

El Primero is also the only mass produced automatic chronograph movement in the world, that beats at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour, which makes this automatic movement unusually fast, and unusually accurate.

Zenith is famous for its complications

Zenith makes chronograph movements, but does also equip some of their most expensive timepieces with tourbillons, alarms and minute repeaters.

In 2011, Zenith won the “Best Complicated Watch Prize”, at the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix, for Zenith’s complication movement called “Gravity Control”.

Regarding Zenith’s tourbillons:

Zenith is the only watchmaker that has made and still makes tourbillons beating at the high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour, which is a testament to the wizardy and skills of this elite Swiss watchmaker.


What makes a watch Swiss Made?

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