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Ever since it was founded, Zenith has been cultivating the ability to open up new horizons by assisting with some of the most remarkable human achievements.


Founded in 1865 in Le Locle by 22 year-old visionary Georges Favre-Jacot, the Firm originally developed fob watches, clocks, and navigation console instruments for the navy. It soon earned recognition for the accuracy of its chronometers, for which it has won 2333 timekeeping awards in its 150 years of existence; after barely ten years, it was already employing over one thousand people.

In 1911, Georges Favre-Jacot named the Firm – which up until then had been named after him –  ‘Manufacture Zenith'. Nine years later, having produced over two million watches, Zenith opened subsidiaries in Geneva, Moscow, Paris, Vienna and New York. 

Renowned for its precision and the reliability of its timekeeping instruments, the manufacture later equipped the cockpit panel dials of the seaplanes of the French Fleet Air Arm as well as supplying console instruments to the Italian navy.

After the Second World War, Zenith returned to its core business, developing new automatic movements. The birth of the El Primero caliber in 1969 – the first high-frequency automatic chronograph – made the firm famous. Zenith successfully navigated the following decades and the advent of quartz, constantly creating new calibers – including the Elite ultraflat movement. 

As the dawn of the third millennium approached, the LVMH Group bought out Zenith, giving the Firm a fresh lease of life. At the 2002 Baselworld show, the manufacture presented four new movements and fourteen new models. 

Manufacture Zenith boasts over 600 different types of movement. All Zenith watches still have a Zenith manufactured movement produced by the Manufacture in Le Locle.

In 2012, parachutist Félix Baumgartner became a legend by jumping into the stratosphere and reaching a maximum reported speed of 833.9 mph – equipped with the El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th chronograph. He thus joined the long list of pioneers with whom Zenith has worked.

The Manufacture is founded.
The firm is renamed Zenith.
Arrival of the El Primero caliber.
Launch of the ultraflat Élite automatic movement.
Félix Baumgartner performs his space jump wearing the Zenith Stratos.

Ever since it was founded, Zenith has been cultivating the ability to open up new horizons by assisting with some of the most remarkable human achievements.

From Blériot to Felix Baumgartner, Zenith has made its mark on the history of aviation and space exploration. The Manufacture has played its part in history, marking the time for none other than Ghandi. It has contributed to major advances by equipping a large number of explorers on major expeditions; and these have become an integral part of the brand's heritage, influencing the spirit that drives it forward. 

Manufacture Zenith is proud of its history and is still in the exact location where its founder built the first workshop, benefitting from its rich past as it looks to the future and fulfils its destiny. Its vocation is to be a fine watchmaking manufacture – inspired by audacity, authenticity and pleasure since 1865.



This collection of four timepieces demonstrates the Manufacture's fine watchmaking knowhow: the Minute repeater, Equation of Time, fusée and chain, and self-regulating gyroscopic tourbillon.


El Primero

Based on the caliber of the same name, the El Primero collection comprises the chronographs developed using this movement with an abundance of added complications, including a split-second hand, tourbillon and perpetual calendar.


The Zenith Elite collection offers the ultimate in classic understatement.


This collection bears witness to the firm's aesthetic creativity, with ladies' and men's watches that have stood the test of the decades.


The Original Automatic Chronograph Movement - The Star Of The Swiss Watch Industry

It was in 1969 when the classic Swiss watch brand, Zenith, unveiled an automatic movement that would change the course of history for watches. It was in that year we were introduced to one of the world's first fully integrated, automatic chronographs and star of the show, the Zenith El Primero. The pressure was on as both Breitling and Tag Heuer were working together to be the first, but in the end Breitling and Tag Heuer were beaten to the punch, making Zenith the true star of the show with the original automatic chronograph, Swiss watch movement.

It was on the eve of the quartz crisis that the company chose to unveil this watch and unveiled the gold standard of chronographs, the El Primero movement, an instant classic.

What made the El Primero watch movement so special? It ran at 36,000 VPH and still does down to this day.

The El Primero is still used in the Zenith line-up and has gone down in history as one of the truly classic mechanical watch movements. Classic vintage watches that contain the El Primero movement are considered true collectors items and anyone who is able to buy one will indeed do just that, with both buyer and seller looking for any opportunity to obtain one.

Zenith and Rolex

The El Primero caught the eye of a certain Geneva brand, Rolex, as it was both automatic and well made. Rolex used this legendary chronograph in its Daytona series of watches with several modifications.

The fact that Rolex chose to use this watch is a testament to the Zenith company and the men behind it, as they had created one of the best watches on the market. Classic vintage Rolex chronographs that contain this movement are in hot demand from collectors of vintage pieces and are considered true gold in that market and if available to buy, they will be snapped up in heartbeat.