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Brief Brand History for
In 1865, Georges Favre-Jacot founded the company which would become Zenith in Le Locle, Switzerland. Drawing from the modern manufacturing techniques used by other watchmakers, Georges quickly began vertically integrating his business, at times employing thousands of workers. In 1900, the watchmaker received the Grand Prize at the Paris Universal Exhibition for the "Zenith" caliber. In 1909, a Zenith watch was worn on the first flight over the English Channel. The pilot, Louis BlÃ©riot, highly praised the reliability of the watch in the extreme conditions of flight. In the mid-twentieth century, Gandhi was famously given a Zenith pocket watch which accompanied him on his travels. The 1959 purchase of the movement maker Martel marked a move towards greater independence. In 1968, Zenith merged with Movado. Only a year later, the new grouping unveiled an automatic chronograph dubbed "El Primero." Several groups had been racing to develop an automatic chronograph caliber, and Zenith is considered the first to have done so. The movement had compact dimensions and a high beat rate of 36,000 vibrations per hour. The quartz crisis of the '70s hit Zenith hard. Between 1972 and 1978, the Zenith Radio Company owned Zenith and manufactured quartz watches. Crucially, Charles Vermot preserved the plans and tools used in the making of the El Primero when its production ceased in 1975. After the business was again sold in 1978, Zenith began supplying El Primero movements to companies like Ebel and Rolex. In 1999, LVMH acquired the company.
Product Line Overview
The Chronomaster is the most famous watch produced by Zenith. Using the legendary El Primero chronograph movement developed in the late 1960s, the Chronomaster is now an icon. The El Primero's high beat rate allows it to measure elapsed time to a tenth of a second. The watch is available in several configurations. The Chronomaster Original has a more conventional case shape closely resembling that of the first El Primero Zeniths while the Revival takes inspiration from 1970s Zenith chronographs. The Chronomaster Sport has an additional rotating bezel. The Chronomaster Open appears the same as the Original with the exception of a dial aperture which facilitates the viewing of the movement.
The Defy Collection hosts bold, sporty designs classified by sub-collection. The dodecagonal Defy Skyline features an interchangeable integrated bracelet, faceted bezel, and one-tenth of a second indication. While retaining its contemporary appeal, the Defy Classic uses a more conventional case shape available in steel, titanium, carbon fiber, and colored ceramic. Many Defy Classic references feature heavily skeletonized movements. The Defy Extreme hosts the El Primero 21 caliber. This movement is able to measure one-hundredth of a second. Inspired by the night sky, the Defy Midnight features dials decorated with a gradient and stars. Aimed at ladies, the watches within this sub-collection are often set with diamonds. The Defy Collection also includes high complications under the Fusee Tourbillon, Zero G, and Double Tourbillon names.
Drawing inspiration from Zenith's early involvement in aviation, the Pilot Collection is defined by extreme legibility. Consequently, watches within the collection feature oversized, luminescent numerals and large case diameters. The Pilot is additionally characterized by large crowns. The Pilot can be found in time-only and chronograph configurations. Many variations are available exclusively in bronze.
The most minimalistic of Zenith's collections, the Elite Collection is distinguished by traditional lines and proportions. All references have sunray patterned dials, dauphine hands, self-winding movements, and simple indexes. The Elite Classic has a central seconds hand and a date window at six o'clock. The Elite Moonphase has a moon phase indication at six o'clock and a small-seconds indication at nine.
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