Reaching the Peak: Zenith Watch Company

Zenith El Primero Pilot Chronograph
Zenith El Primero Pilot Chronograph

If the above name sounds familiar to you, then you probably have an interest in fine, high-grade watches.

If not, then you have overlooked one of the most famous, most sought after, most highly regarded, most honored watch companies in the world.

Zenith does boast about being one of the only four watch companies that produce all of their own watches. TRUE! But for clarification, there are more than four companies that manufacture their own movements. However, only some (not all) of the watches they produce are with their own movements.

Zenith is very much a purist at heart and their watches show it.

The word “Zenith” has the following as its second definition in Webster’s Dictionary: (Note: All definitions in this article were found via Zenith (n.) n. 2. hence, figuratively, the point of culmination; the greatest height; the height of success or prosperity.
Let’s take a look at “the point of culmination.” (from Cambridge International Dictionary of English) culminate in phrasal verb [T] to reach or achieve (a result or a high point) after gradual development and sometimes a lot of effort. The company bore the name of the founder, George Favre-Jacot, until 1911, when he chose to rename it to what is now known all over the world as ZENITH.

The Zenith Company demanded of itself a truly perfect mechanical watch and after many years of development, their efforts culminated in what is known today as one of the finest watches ever built. I would suggest that anyone interested in their history go to the Internet (or you can contact the company directly at and they will be more than happy to furnish you with oodles of information).

When Thierry Nataf became president of Zenith (now part of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH) Group) he said “I read over all of the material I could find about Zenith, went to the Internet, asked friends about it and even had few of their watches on my wrist, just to get the feel of what their products are like. I was trying to say something about Zenith that has never been said before. Most of the people I know who have Zeniths (and others who know quite a bit about Zeniths) pretty much have the same thing to say about the watch they own or the company: “Great Company, Great Watch, Great Movement, The “El Primero” is the best movement ever made.”

Rolex used Zenith’s “El Primero” movement in its “Daytona Series” for many years but now Rolex makes its own movement for the “Daytona.” Rather than getting very wordy about Zenith, I would suggest that you visit your favorite luxury watch store to see their watches in person. Touch them, feel them, put one on and then you will know all that there is to know.

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