Zenith (company)



Zenith is a Swiss watch manufacturer founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot.

The brand has been part of the luxury group LVMH since 1999 and sells high-quality watches .

History of the manufacture

It was in 1865 , at the age of 22, that Georges Favre-Jacot 1 chose the town of Le Locle to create a watchmaking factory called “Fabrique des Billodes”, named after the district where it is located. Only later did she take the name “Georges Favre-Jacot and C ie . Quickly, the company broke with the traditional system of establishment 2 , 3 , Georges Favre-Jacot will be the first 4 to imagine and to build in Switzerland vast and luminous buildings dedicated to watchmaking 5 , 6 where work is controlled from start to finish and industrialized based on the Waltham Watch Company model . The combination of all the watchmaking trades under one roof is an innovation that reduces errors and poor workmanship, while at the same time dramatically improving the production technique 7 .

Around 1900, the catalog diversified 8 with the production of clocks , chronographs and other chronometers of board and navy . The company participates regularly in the chronometry competitions organized by the Observatoire de Neuchâtel 9 , where it won first place in 1903 10 . Branches will be born in 1908 in Moscow , in 1909 in Paris , in 1910 in Vienna and 1914 in London 11 . The factory is still still today at the place where its founder built the first workshop.

In 1911, Georges Favre-Jacot sent the company to his nephew James Favre who chose to rename it “Zenith”, named after a model of a pocket watch with success 12 , 13 and reference to the field of astronomy 14 . Between 1917 and 1926, the Lausanne architect Alphonse Laverrière working with the firm 15 and actively contributes to its image 16 . The first wristwatches were produced in the 1920s; In 1923 a factory was built in Besançon 17 . In 1926 Zenith built a precision record at the Kew Observatory with a walking gap of 7 hundredths of a second in 45 days 18 ,

The 135 caliber was developed in 1948 and it won for 5 consecutive years , from 1950 to 1954 19 , the contest of the Observatory of Neuchâtel. In 1960, Zenith completed the strategic acquisition of Martel Watch . In January 1969, the caliber 3019 El Primero is part of the history of watchmaking as the first automatic chronograph to have been presented to the public 20 , 21 ; It is equipped with a new exhaust called “high frequency”, the Clinergic 21 developed by the Factories of Assorted Assets 22 and a column wheel.

Until then, the company has sought to anticipate the quartz crisis while strengthening its presence in the North American market. Thus Zenith chosen in 1971 to approach the namesake electronics group Zenith Radio Corporation 24 . A production of quartz watches begins with the caliber 47.0 while the abandonment of the mechanical movements is ratified around 1975. At that time, the collapse of sales is a blow that leads to a restructuring of the group, the sister companies Mondia and Martel will be liquidated. In order to safeguard a know-how, a workshop manager, Charles Vermot, decides to conceal essential machine tools and plan 25 to the manufacture of mechanical movements in 2572 26 and 3019 27 , 28, then into production before they are discarded. Three years later, in 1978, the company was sold to the Swiss microtechnic group Dixi 29 .

It is thanks to the interest of home Ebel 30 for the quality of the movement El Primero and the availability of some stocks it will be selected by the firm Rolex to equip its first watch models Daytona automatic 31 . In 1983, bought by the North American Watch Company  (in) , Movado withdraws from holding 32 . As the watchmaking market is recovering, Charles Vermot presents the elements that he has carefully preserved and an internal manufacture of mechanical watches fully resumes under the brand name Zenith.

The year 1994 will show the movement 670 Elite was the first of the firm to be designed by computer 33 .

In 1999, Zenith passes under the luxury group cup LVMH 34 and the development of quartz watches is suspended 35 .

Key Dates

  • 1865: Founding of the factory by Georges Favre-Jacot
  • 1899: First Pocket Chronograph
  • 1900: Grand Prize at the Universal Exhibition of Paris 36 , 12
  • 1910 – 1960: Design of on board meters to equip aircraft, cars, trucks, locomotives, etc. 37 , 38
  • 1911: The manufacture takes the name of Zenith in reference to the highest point of the race of a star
  • 1925: The house has 1000 workers 37 , 38
  • 1948: Launch of the calibres 133 automatic and 135 chronometer
  • 1960: Creation of the caliber 5011 chronometer
  • 1969: Birth of caliber 3019 El Primero automatic chronograph
  • 1975: Zenith manufactory decides to stop the production of mechanical watches in favor of quartz
  • 1984: Return of El Primero by the watchmaker Charles Vermot. Zenith delivers its caliber to other major brands 39 , 40
  • 1994: Launch of the 670 ultra -flat automatic Elite movement
  • 1999: Zenith joins the LVMH group

Famous people wearing or wearing a Zenith watch

  • Gandhi , Indian Political and Spiritual Guide 41
  • Roald Amundsen , Norwegian sailor and explorer 42 , 43
  • Louis Blériot , French aviator 44
  • Alexander I st of Yugoslavia wearing a Zenith watch during his assassination in Marseille 45
  • Jean-Louis Étienne , French physician and explorer 46 , 47
  • Alain Robert , French climber nicknamed ” The French Spider-Man48
  • Maurice Trintignant , French Formula 1 driver
  • Felix Baumgartner , Austrian paratrooper 49 , 50
  • Russell Westbrook , player North American of Basketball

Bibliography

  • Philippe Godet, Zenith: a Neuchâtel industry , Neuchâtel, Attinger,
  • Patricia Hostettler, “Birth and growth of the Zenith watch factory,” in: Chronométrophilia 1991, n o 31, p.  13-54
  • Francis Kaufmann, Portraits of fifteen original Montagnons: they also made history , Georges Favre-Jacot, Editions du Haut, 2000
  • Manfred Rossler, Zenith: Swiss Watch Manufactory Since 1865 , Damiani, ( ISBN  978-8862080699 )
  • Joël Duval, Zenith: The saga of a star-studded watch manufacturer , Albin Michel, ( ISBN  978-2226259103 )
  • Hélène Pasquier, ” Zenith [ archive ] ” in the Swiss Historical Dictionary .
  • Dany Kurtz Horoguide N o 2  [ archive ] , Jalou 2001 p.  12-21
  • UNESCO World Heritage nomination file, La Chaux-de-Fonds / Le Locle, urbanism watchmaker  [ archive ] , 2007, p.  261-263

References

  1. ↑ Jean-Marc Barrelet, Neuchâtel Biographies , Attinger,, “Georges (-Emile) Favre-Bulle, watchmaker, industrialist, entrepreneur (1843-1917)”, vol. 3, p. 110
  2. ↑ David Landes, The Hour that it is. Clocks, the measure of time and the formation of the modern world ,, P. 364
  3. ↑ Pierre-Yves Donzé Watchmakers patrons of La Chaux-de-Fonds (1840-1920). Social dynamics of an industrial elite , Neuchâtel, Alphil,, Pp. 19-20
  4. ↑ ” Zenith [ archive ] , on Swisstime (accessed 20 April 2015 )
  5. ↑ Tribune of the Arts, Zenith, The manufacture under the scaffoldings , ( Read online  [ archive ] )
  6. ↑ Tourist office, Neuchâtel, Town planning, Le Locle , Neuchâtel ( read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 12
  7. ↑ Jean-Claude Daumas, the productive systems in the Jura region: actors, practices and territories , Presses Univ. Franche-Comté, Pp. 41-50
  8. ↑ Jean-Claude Daumas, the productive systems in the Jura region: actors, practices and territories , Presses Univ. Franche-Comté, Pp. 192-195
  9. ↑ Zenith will participate annually until 1968, when the contest ends
  10. The impartial , ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p.  Pocket chronometers 2nd class
  11. a and b The impartial 75th anniversary of Zenith in Le Locle , ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 5
  12. a and b The Swiss Watchmaking Federation, Year 15 – N ° 70 , La Chaux-de-Fonds, ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 1
  13. Time , Paris, No. 14322, 26 August 1900 ( read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 2 “At the exhibition”
  14. ↑ Definitions lexicographical  [ archive ] and etymological  [ archive ] of “Zenith” in the Treasury of the French language computer on the Site National Center textual and lexical resources
  15. ↑ French Institute of Architecture, Architecture Archives of xx th century, Volume 1 ( read online  [ archive ] ) , Alphonse Laverrière, p. 216
  16. ↑ Pierre Frey Alphonse Laverrière, 1872-1954: course in the archives of an architect ( read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 192, p. 220-224
  17. ↑ History of watchmaking in Besançon
  18. ↑ Dr. HB, ” At the Kew-Teddington Observatory “, The Swiss Watch Federation ,, Pp. 1-2 ( read online  [archive ] )
    With a score of 97.2 points / 100
  19. ↑ See results stopwatches bracelets 1950  [ archive ] (first 5.3), 1951  [ archive ] (first 5.3), 1952  [ archive ] (first 5.1), 1953  [ archive ] (first 5.9) 1954  [ archive ] (first 5.9)
  20. The Express , ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 3
  21. ↑ See first automatic chronograph  [ archive ] Lemania , 1947, which was not marketed
  22. ↑ VeryImportantWatches, Special High Frequency ( read online  [ archive ] ) , pp. 3-8
  23. ↑ François Burgat, Structure of the world watch supply and market shape , Biel, ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 52
  24. The Express , ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 3
  25. ↑ J.-C. Perrin, The impartial , ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 21
  26. ↑ Zenith caliber reissued in 2011
  27. ↑ ” Interview with Charles Vermot [ archive ] , on YouTube (accessed April 18, 2015 )
  28. ↑ We know that other stamps of calibres could be saved by Ch. Vermot ( source  [ archive ] ) but the precise documentation on the manufacturing processes remains missing
  29. ↑ Gil Baillod, The impatial , ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 1, p. 7
  30. ↑ ( en ) ” Ebel Sport Classic Chronograph [ archive ] , on Monochrome (accessed 18 April 2015 )
  31. ↑ Swiss Journal of Watchmaking  [ archive ] , 2010, p.  9-11
  32. ↑ Gil Baillod, The Impartial , ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 20
  33. ↑ ” Zenith Elite 6150 [ archive ] , on the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie , (Accessed 19 April 2015 )
  34. ↑ ” The LVMH group gets hold of the Swiss watchmaker Zénith [ archive ] , on lesechos.fr ,(Accessed 3 May 2016 )
  35. ↑ ” Zenith Manufacturing: Traditionally Avant-garde [ archive ] , on auto-moto.com , (Accessed 7 May 2016 ).
  36. The Swiss Watchmaking Federation, Year 15 – N ° 66 , La Chaux-de-Fonds, ( Read online  [ archive ] ) , p. 1
  37. a and b History and Great Dates [ archive ] , on Zenith Watches (accessed April 19, 2015 )
  38. a and b Zenith [ archive ] , on Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (accessed 19 April 2015 )
  39. ↑ Bastien Buss, ” Rolex watch maintains its leadership [ archive ] , on Time ,
  40. ↑ Myriam Volorio Perriard, ” Ebel [ archive ] , on Historical Dictionary of Switzerland ,
  41. ↑ Gandhi’s Zenith watch auctioned  [ archive ]
  42. ↑ Roald Amundsen, discoverer of the poles  [ archive ]
  43. ↑ Review of Watches June 2010, page 37
  44. ↑ Joël Duval, Zenith: The saga of a watchmaking factory , Albin Michel, ( ISBN  978-2226259103 ) , p.  146
  45. ↑ Joël Duval, Zenith: The saga of a watchmaking factory , Albin Michel, ( ISBN  978-2226259103 ) , p.  214
  46. ↑ North Pole with explorer Jean-Louis Étienne  [ archive ]
  47. ↑ Review of Watches June 2010, page 36
  48. ↑ Alain Robert, French climber, ambassador of the Zenith brand  [ archive ]
  49. ↑ Baumgartner beats world record of free fall jump and crosses sound barrier [ archive ]
  50. ↑ watch Zenith El Primero Stratos (official website)  [ archive ]


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