The watch industry is crammed full of brands with an interesting history normally dating back to the 19th century. A good example is Zenith, which was originally founded by a youthful 22-year old Georges Favre-Jacot in 1865. In 1999 the company was acquired by Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE (also known as LVMH). Zenith now comprises part of their successful jewellery division (alongside Tag Heuer, Hublot etc.) and is under the helm of Jean-Claude Biver. I have spoken with Jean-Claude on many occasions and he even wrote a beautiful testimonial for my first published book entitled ‘Limited Edition Watches’
I have always been a huge admirer of Zenith and met some of the team a few years ago at Baselworld. Recent watches in the Defy collection have attracted a lot of positive attention because of their meticulous attention to detail. Another distinctive model is the El Primero Revival A384 Edge of Space Limited Edition. This particular timepiece is a collaborative effort with Mr George Bamford (Bamford Watch Department) and MR PORTER. The end result is a striking looking watch that is limited to 50-pieces worldwide.
Recently Zenith commemorated the 50th anniversary of the iconic El Primero calibre and released a timepiece called the A384 revival. This watch is based on the original 1969 model and has a 37mm stainless steel case. Even though the timepiece is much smaller than I generally wear it is very stylish. However, the A384 Edge of Space Limited Edition (in my opinion) is in a whole different league. It also is an indication of where the watch industry might be heading. Ultimately the concept of producing a special limited edition watch exclusively for one particular retailer seems like a clever marketing strategy.
The first watch I designed called the ‘Polaris’ had a 3D printed textured case (before it was polished) and that is similar to the aesthetic of the A384 Edge of Space Limited Edition. It also gives the watch a modern more edgy appearance than the A384 revival. This feature perfectly complements the stylish navy blue dial with black sub-dials and Rhodium-plated (SuperLuminova® SLN C3)-coated hands and markers. At the heart of the watch is a Swiss-made mechanical self-winding chronograph movement (which is visible via the exhibition case back) with an impressive 50-hour power reserve. The Calibre El Primero 400 comprises 31-jewels and oscillates at a high frequency of 36,000 vibrations per hour.