Founded in 1865, Zenith has a long history of inspiring the world with their spectacular watches.
The idea behind the watch maker’s mission is to empower individuals to excel beyond their boundaries and change the world in positive ways.
To quote Julien Tornare, the current Zenith CEO, “We at Zenith believe in the power of the individual. Throughout our manufacture’s long, uninterrupted history, we’ve been inspired by the stories of those who reached their star and didn’t let anything stand between them and their dreams.” Sounds like a lot of wishy-washy jargon, right?
Except, with Zenith, it’s really not. The brand can be traced back to some amazing individuals throughout modern history. Aside from that, there’s no denying that their watches are really eye-catching and bold in their designs.
One truly noteworthy fact about Zenith is that they’re one of the few Swiss luxury watch makers who still create their own movements in-house. And what incredible movements they are. In fact, their El Primero movement is so good that Rolex used it in their watches for over a decade.
Of all the luxury watch brands out there, Swiss or otherwise, few can truly live up to their claims of helping to change the world in the same way that Zenith can. Let’s take a look at some of their more notable fans.
In the late 19th century, the battle for women’s rights and emancipation was sweeping across western Europe and the United States. While there are many heroic figures who stood out and added their voices to the cause, there are few who made waves like Caroline Rémy.
A French political journalist, she shared her passion for feminism and human rights under the pen name Séverine to avoid persecution. She famously joined thousands of men and women on the streets of Paris in a protest to support women’s suffrage, and even joined in the defense of Sacco and Vanzetti in 1927.
Recognizing her as a magnificent woman and a giant of her time, Zenith gave her a beautiful pocket watch crafted out of agate. About the watch, Caroline wrote “Zenith is the loyal and faithful girlfriend who will never let you down… and will never make you miss the train!”
One of the early pioneers of aviation, Louis Blériot’s dream of flying across the English Channel earned him the respect of his peers. His many failed attempts, however, earned him the nickname “King of Wrecks.”
In 1909, though, the daring pilot succeeded in what no man or woman had ever done before. He successfully piloted a plane across the channel and his name became permanently etched into the annals of history.
The founder of Zenith, George Favre-Jacot, took a liking to Blériot. George was drawn to like-minded innovators, people who weren’t content to live within the boundaries set for them.
It was for this reason that Zenith committed themselves to making watches that could remain precise and intact while enduring the extreme conditions of early aviation.
Louis Blériot was so impressed with his Zenith that he wrote “I am extremely satisfied with the Zenith watch, which I use regularly, and cannot recommend it highly enough to those in search of precision.”
The world-renowned spiritual leader and advocate for peace in the 20th century was known to have few material possessions. Among those few that he owned, however, was a Zenith pocket watch with alarm function.
The watch was given to Gandhi by an Indian prime minister, and was much loved by him for its purpose as a reminder for prayer.
During a train journey to Kanpur, Mahatma Gandhi’s pocket watch was stolen from him by a thief. Eventually, the thief felt so bad about it that he returned the watch and begged for forgiveness. We don’t blame him.
There are currently 4 lines in production at Zenith: The Defy, the Pilot, the Chronomaster, and the Elite.
Let’s take a look at each.
Dubbed by Zenith as “The future of tradition,” the Defy range is built to be a modern platform upon which the future of Swiss watchmaking can build from.
The Defy’s case is a “retro-futuristic faceted tonneau-shape” that is specifically made to show off the company’s powerful movements.
The bracelets on these watches are integrated into the case, making a seamless transition from the lugs. Of course, there are Defy configurations that feature leather or nylon straps rather than bracelets, but the aesthetic is basically the same.
While there are some more traditional looking dials, many watches in the Defy line feature skeletal dials that allow a clear view into the movement mechanisms as they work, creating a hypnotic and just all around exciting look that quickly captures the imagination.
As of the time this is being written, we currently have a very cool Zenith Defy Classic Black Skeleton Dial Carbon Fiber in stock for 27% off.
There are a lot of pilot watches out there, but Zenith’s was technically the first. In fact, the brand trademarked the term “pilot watch” way back in 1904. So it’s safe to say that the watchmaker has earned the right to use a capital “P” when they talk about the Pilot.
Featuring a classic vintage design, the Pilot is certainly a picturesque representation of what we think of as watches for aviation. The dials are large and easily read, the controls are easy to manipulate, and the straps are classy leather of various types.
Zenith Pilots come in both simple dials with no complications and in chronograph form with two sub dials, so you can have your choice based on your preferences.
Either way, this is definitely something you want on your wrist if you’re going to be soaring through the clouds and heading for far horizons.
We have a single Zenith Pilot Chronometro Tipo CP-2 Flyback in stock right now for 25% off, so you’d better hurry.
Zenith describes the Chronomaster as “an icon worn on the wrist,” which is pretty apt given the line’s decades of success.
One of the standout features of the Chronomaster is what the company calls a “unique design language.” They basically come in two shapes: a round case with large lugs, often featuring really bold and interesting themes of color and dial design, and boxy more vintage looking cases that are throwbacks to designs from the 60s and 70s.
What really sets these apart from other chronographs, however, is found on the inside of the watches. The evolved movements found in these watches really shows off Zenith’s master of high frequency chronograph precision with a 1/10 second function.
I guess you could say they’ve truly mastered the chrono.
We have the Zenith Chronomaster Revival El Primero A385 in stock and ready to ship for 29% off.
The driving philosophy behind Zenith’s Elite watches is “timeless elegance,” and that could be more obvious from just a glance at the watches.
While made to be unisex watches, there’s a decidedly feminine charm about the Elite. Elegance is one word for it. Grace, beauty, refinement are some others.
The design behind the Elite is simple in its beauty. It’s essentially a large circular case featuring a thin bezel and hardly noticeable lugs. The straps are leathers of varying colors. In fact, speaking of color, the dials on the Elites are all spectacular. Some are colorful, some are white and intricately designed, but they’re all wonderful.
The dials also come in two variations: with or without a moonphase complication. The Elites that do feature a moonphase also have the second hand as a sub dial at 9 o’clock, whereas the dials without a moon phase feature a large centralized second hand and a date window at 6 o’clock.
We’re partial to the moon phase variants ourselves, given how beautifully painted they are, the moons being made to match the color of the bezel.
We happen to have a Zenith Elite Ultra Thin Lady Moonphase in Turquoise with a diamond dial available in stock right now for 32% off. But you’d better act fast on this one, because it’s definitely not going to stick around for long.