Zenith, ahead of its time for 150 years

Watches & Jewelry


Zenith, the first full-fledged Swiss watch manufacture, was created thanks to the passion and vision of Georges Favre-Jacot. The manufacture celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2015, carrying on a tradition of classic elegance in chronographs whose movements are synonymous with harmony and precision.

In 1865, Georges Favre-Jacot revolutionized watchmaking by bringing together in the town of Locle every step in watch production – at the time done by independent artisans at different locations – under one roof. The Zenith Manufacture was equipped with the most modern machines and began crafting movements of unprecedented complexity and precision, continually meeting new production challenges and exporting its watches around the world. Inspired by a unique entrepreneurial sprit, the Manufacture has remained on the cusp of innovation and today continues to make all Zenith chronographs.

Over the past 150 years, 17 buildings have joined the original Manufacture. The watches made there have consistently defied the laws of technology and earned Zenith more awards than any other watchmaker. These technical feats include the first wristwatch, the first chronograph with an accuracy to 1/10th of a second, a dry lubrication system to ensure the long-term stability of mechanisms and more recently, the Academy Christophe Columb Hurricane, which neutralizes the effects of gravity on the watch mechanism.

Zenith expertise has always been ready to embark on fresh adventures, viewing borders as challenges, not limits. Georges Favre-Jacot took a keen interest in “New World” markets, designing special models, logos and advertising for Russia, Japan, Turkey, China and the Americas. At the beginning of the 20th century, Zenith won a contract to equip railway staff around the world with the famous railroad pocket watches. The House’s timepieces have been worn by aviators and sailors, by space adventurers like Felix Baumgartner, as well as by heroes back on earth, such as Gandhi.

Zenith is now celebrating the tradition of avant-garde entrepreneurial spirit behind its 150 years of success. Celebrations will run throughout 2015, including sports events that the House has long partnered, and a series of special events to welcome avid Zenith aficionados. These celebrations will also include collaboration with cognac maker Hennessy, another LVMH house that is marking its 250th anniversary this year. Their dialogue will be inspired by a shared passion for innovation.