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The future of Swiss watchmaking
The Pilot Watch Magazine
24 June 2024

Swiss timepieces at the pinnacle of haute horlogerie

Swiss watchmaker Zenith was founded in 1865 by visionary watchmaker and entrepreneur Georges Favre-Jacot in Le Locle, the heart of the Swiss watch industry. According to tradition, the history of the brand name dates back to the moment when Georges Favre-Jacot finished work one evening on his best watch movement to date. As he turned his gaze to the sky in the starry night, celestial mechanics appeared to him like the infinitely complex yet fascinating play of wheels and pivots in his new masterpiece. He decides to name both the mechanical inner workings of his latest creation and his entire watch manufacture after the highest point in the universe – Zenith.

In the decades to come, the brand with the five-pointed star in its logo experiences a meteoric rise in the truest sense of the word. Zenith’s timepieces – initially pocket watches and table clocks in particular, and after the First World War mainly wristwatches – were quickly in demand and sold all over the world. One of the most important milestones in the success story of the watch manufacture is the development of the famous El Primero chronograph caliber, the heart of the first automatic chronograph from Zenith and one of the most precise movements ever – so precise that it is even used by Rolex from 1988 to the turn of the millennium.

Zenith exists to inspire individuals to pursue their dreams and make them come true – against all odds.


Zenith’s acquisition and reorientation by LVMH

After economically strained times during the so-called quartz crisis, when cheap quartz watches from Asia put traditional manufacturers on the spot in the 1970s and 80s, demand for mechanical watches rises again and Zenith’s success story continues. In 1978, the internationally active Swiss industrial group Dixi Holding Le Locle acquired the exclusive watchmaker, and since 1999 the company has belonged to the French luxury goods group Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, or LVMH for short, like its competitors TAG Heuer, Hublot, Dior and Bulgari.

With LVMH’s takeover of Zenith, the watchmaker is being realigned and repositioned as a luxury brand of the upper class. The models in the various collections – including, of course, attractive timepieces for pilots – range from classically elegant to spectacularly modern. Zenith wristwatches stand for excellent precision, high reliability as well as outstanding craftsmanship. All chronometers are powered by in-house manufacture movements, the production of which takes place exclusively at the company’s headquarters in Le Locle. Today, as in the past, these ticking marvels bear witness to a boundless spirit of research in the constant pursuit of innovation.

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Synonymous with robustness and precision



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