Founded in Le Locle in 1865 by a visionary watchmaker, Georges Favre-Jacot, the Manufacture Zenith earned swift recognition for the precision of its chronometers with which it has won 2,333 chronometry prizes in a century and a half of existence: an absolute record in terms of pocket watches, onboard timers and wristwatches. Having earned fame thanks to its legendary El Primero calibre – an integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph movement launched in 1969 and endowed with a high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour that ensures measurements accurate to the nearest 1/10th of a second – the Manufacture Zenith has since developed over 600 movement variations. All Zenith watches are fitted with an in-house Zenith movement and are developed by the Manufacture in Le Locle. The latter currently stands at the exact spot where its founder built the first company workshop, thus physically embodying a continuity that is a rarity in itself.
The founder of Zenith, Georges Favre-Jacot,revolutionised watch production by uniting all the watchmaking professions under one roof, thereby inventing the very concept of a Manufacture.
The Manufacture established by Georges Favre-Jacot definitively adopts the name of Zenith, referring to the highest point reached by a heavenly body in the sky and thereby symbolizing the heights of excellence to which the brand with the guiding star has been aspiring ever since.
The Manufacture Zenith employs 1,000 people. In the watchmaking haven of Le Locle and its neighbouring town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, it is nicknamed “the Manufacture with 2,000 gold and silver hands”.
Zenith launches its legendary Calibre 135. This legendary wristwatch chronometer movement equipped with a small seconds function was to earn no less than 235 prizes.
Zenith created El Primero, the first ever integrated automatic chronograph movement, which is still the world’s most precise series-made caliber. It is the only one capable of measuring short times to the nearest tenth of a second, thanks to its balance oscillating at a frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour.
Launch of the ultra-thin automatic Elite movement. The first Zenith caliber to be developed using Computer Assisted Design technology, it was voted movement of the year by the trade press due to its extreme slenderness and its proven reliability.
Zenith joins the LVMH luxury group.
The Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix (GPHG) awards the Best Complicated Watch Prize to the Academy Christophe Colomb Équation du Temps.