A Quick Look into the History of Zenith Watches

The Swiss watchmaker, Zenith, is easily recognized as one of the veteran watch brands. Founded in 1865, Zenith has produced more than 10 million watches, and invented more than 500 movements. This particular company specializes in pocket and interior watches. Through their exceptional craftsmanship, Zenith has received than 2,300 awards for high precision and accuracy of its timepieces. Let’s find out more about what makes Zenith such a special brand.


Zenith was founded in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot in the town of Le Locle. Le Locle, which is located in the Canton of Neuchatel, is known as the heart of the Swiss watchmaking. Under the name “Georges Favre-Jacot & Cie”, Zenith was originally focused on manufacturing precision pocket watches.

By the end of the century, Zenith expanded its product line to table clocks, pendulum clocks, marine chronometers, flight chronometers, and wristwatches. In 1899, Zenith unveiled its first pocket chronograph. Soon afterwards, Zenith earned a reputation for creating highly precise and reliable watches, which resonated throughout Europe and America.

By 1900, Zenith became one of the most celebrated Swiss brands, and received numerous awards from various exhibitions in Geneva, Milan, Barcelona, Montreal, and New York. In Paris, Zenith was awarded the Gold Medal at the Paris Universal Exposition. In the 1930’s, Zenith’s marine watches were featured on seaplanes for the French Navy and on vessels for the British Royal Navy. These accurate timepieces were even commissioned and featured on vessels for the Italian Navy. Soon afterwards, Zenith began establishing additional branches of its company in Moscow, Paris, Vienna, London, and New York. 

The defining moment for this brand occurred in 1969, when Zenith created El Primero, the first automatic chronograph movement with a high-frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour. To this day, El Primero is the fastest automatic and most precise chronograph in the world.

In 1999, Zenith was sold to the luxury group LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH). Since being purchased, Zenith has continued to create some of the finest chronometers in the world. The company creates several collections for women and men, and each Zenith watch has its own unique design and features. Today, Zenith offers four lines of watches: Pilot, Elite, Chronomaster, and Defy.

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