Zenith Scores Big with New Brand Ambassador Russell Westbrook

Zenith welcomed talented Oklahoma City Thunder Point Guard Russell Westbrook to the ranks of Zenith Brand Ambassador.

Zenith has partnered with three-time All-Star basketball player Russell Westbrook in a mutual collaboration built on their commitment to achieve excellence, skilled techniques and creative innovative styles – values shared by both visionaries.

Russell Westbrook sporting Zenith watch

Westbrook, who brought home the gold from the London Summer Olympic 2012, will not only score big on the basketball court, he now plans to score technical time for Zenith, while adding yet another echelon to his professional career, Brand Ambassador. Westbrook, known for his iconic style both on and off the court, adds yet another welcomed embellished look to his winning style, Zenith watches. Westbrook drew parallels to their partnership commenting, “I am excited and honored to be a part of a brand with such a rich history and immense creativity. In so many ways, the brand’s ideals and my passions overlap, making this a great partnership”.

And if timing is everything it certainly is for this partnership as Zenith prepares to commemorate its 150th anniversary in 2015, and who better to bring “the celebratory anniversary rock” than Point Guard Russell Westbrook.

Zenith CEO Jean-Frederic Dufour commented on the partnership saying, “Since the beginning of its history, Zenith has always been a keen supporter of human skill and talent by accompanying personalities and people in their enterprises.” He adds, “Russell is a true talent in his craft and we are very happy to have found in him a person that shares our philosophy of putting innovation, creativity, and fearlessness at the forefront of each activity. As one of the NBA’s most unique dressers, Russell’s daring style has made him an icon both on and off court. I am deeply moved that I am now able to call him a friend of the brand.”

This winning partnership is a welcomed yet timely win-win for Zenith and Westbrook.

Zenith Captures the Adventurous Spirit of Exploration with its Christophe Colomb Timepiece

Zenith has captured the adventurous spirit of exploration in its Christophe Colomb timepiece. This inspiring complex yet exquisitely designed timepiece embodies Manufacture Zeniths’ historical developmental journey of its precision Lépine chronometer movement, which was manufactured at the beginning of the 20th century. This 201/2” NVI chronometer, whose escapement was known as the “Echappement Colomb” (Columbus Escapement), received three First Prize awards from the Neuchâtel Observatory and an “Especially Good Class A Certificate” from the Kew Observatory, Teddington.

 

Precision, it is all about precision at Manufacture Zenith. A century after Christopher Colombus’ amazing New World discovery, a shipboard compass that featured a precision “Cardan suspension” on gimbals system, a type of universal joint in a shaft that enables it to rotate when out of alignment, developed to enhanced maritime navigation. This system was instrumental to a ships survival out at sea, as ships were affected by the gravitational effects of rolling waves that constantly altered ships navigation. This Cardan suspension system was subsequently used to equip marine chronometers and inspired Manufacture Zenith to incorporate this very same system of complex precision technology in its designed tourbillon movement for its Christophe Colomb wrist watch.

 

Christophe Colomb impressive features boasts a silver dial housed in white, rose or yellow 45 mm diameter case with black lacquered indexes and numerals and blue stainless steel minute, hour and indicator hands. The hours and minutes are ex-centered at 12 o’clock, the self-regulating gyroscopic module is at 6 o’clock, and the second display is at 9 o’clock with the power reserve indicator at 3 o’clock. It showcases a box-form sapphire crystal with anti-reflection treatments on both sides and excrescent domes cover the gyroscopic module.

 

The movement is Academy 8804, manual, consisting of a unique gyroscopic system which maintains perfect horizontal positioning of the regulating organ (the tourbillon). The caged tourbillon consists of 166 components, 10 conical geared wheels which has six spherical wheels and six ball bearings.

 

Five years went into the development and daring complications of the 166 components housed inside the 3D-like gyroscopic module –referred to as its regulating organ as well as its movement beating at 10 vibrations per second. Manufacture Zenith has brilliantly produced the first wrist watch in which the rate is entirely independent of the wearers’ movements – impressive.

 

The Christophe Colomb timepiece marks a major milestone for Manufacture Zenith as well as the watch making industry. It is an exceptionally limited edition timepiece, having only 25 pieces each in white, rose or yellow gold. It is destined to become a legendary iconic timepiece for Manufacture Zenith and for connoisseurs that purchase this inspiring yet elegantly made instrument.

 

 

Swiss Luxury Brands Bucked Western Economic Trends, Posted Record Profits in 2011

Despite international austerity and the depressing economic outlook of many countries, luxury retailers had a banner year in 2011, posting significant gains where other retailers are still seeing losses. The Swiss watch industry, the heart of haute horology, has been at the forefront of the recent boon and has been a huge factor in driving industry growth over the last few years; in fact, 2011 was a record-breaking year for many Swiss watch and jewelry brands. The Swatch Group, LVMH, and Richemont have all seen sales growth of 15 percent of more, crediting their fine jewelry and watch brands for generating much of that burgeoning bottom line. Much of this success can be attributed to opening markets on continents other than North America and Europe, as well as enhanced marketing practices.

The Swatch Group, home to such esteemed brands as Breguet, Blancpain, Tissot, Omega and Tourbillon, had a record year in 2011, posting a sales increase of 21.7 percent and an operating profit of 12.4 percent over the pervious year. Even while European economic turmoil and exchange rates had negative effects on the ultimate bottom line, the watches and jewelry sector still showed a gain of approximately $1.5 billion. According to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, “The group’s leading brands recorded very impressive rates of growth not only in the enlarged China, but also in all other regions and in all price segments. Despite the unfavourable economic situation, the Swatch Group maintained its consistent policy of renouncing short-term price increases, preferring to focus on gains in market share.” Stepping up marketing efforts within the watches and jewelry sector, instead of raising prices, the Swatch Group saw its operating profit grow by 8.4 percent.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA reported sales growth of 16 percent last year, with an operating profit increase of 22 percent and a net profit of $4.12 billion. The watches and jewelry group within LVMH recorded astounding increases of 98 percent in sales and 107 percent in operating profits. (Equating to +23 percent and 41 percent based on comparable structures.) Dedicated consumers in the Western Hemisphere responded well to marketing and innovative additions, while growth in Asian markets added to the LVMH global marketplace. Tag Heuer successfully launched the Mikrograph and Mikrotimer; Hublot introduced a popular new Masterpieces collection; Zenith and Bulgari brought back some well-loved classics.

Tag Heuer Mikrograoh (right) and Mikrotimer (left)
Tag Heuer Mikrograoh (right) and Mikrotimer (left)
Hublot Masterpiece #1 (on left) and #2 (on right)
Hublot Masterpiece #1 (on left) and #2 (on right)

Richemont, the Swiss luxury holding company that boasts subsidiaries such as Baume et Mercier, Cartier, Piaget and Montblanc, increased its sales by 33 percent and gross profit by 38 percent – a gain of approximately $1.6 billion. Operating profit grew by nearly double that amount – 63 percent. The highest sales growth occurred in the Asia-Pacific region, at 48 percent (or, by $3.67 billion) and sales in Japan were up by 18 percent. “We will continue to invest in their organic growth through higher levels of capital spending in manufacturing capacity and in the further development of the group’s own retail network,” said Richemont CEO, Johann Rupert. “Particularly in growth markets.” To that end, the company grew its freestanding boutique stores to a total of 876 last year – primarily in growing Asian markets.

Cartier in Tokyo

While the Asian continent currently represents the largest growth market for the industry, Australia, South America and Africa have also been the focus of luxury brand marketing efforts. Tag Heuer, an LVMH brand that began opening North American retail boutiques only last year, has established stores in Australia, South Africa as well as across the Middle East and India. They have a retail location in Argentina and a customer service location in Chile also, catering to a small but dedicated (and growing) clientele in those regions.

Map of Tag Heuer Brand Boutiques Worldwide
Map of Tag Heuer Brand Boutiques Worldwide

It would certainly seem that a truly global reach is the safest buffer against increasingly unpredictable western markets. But it probably doesn’t hurt to be well known and widely respected for beautiful and high quality products either.

Zenith Supports Womanity Foundation at Benefit Gala

Zenith Watches lent its generous support to the Womanity Foundation last week at a benefit gala in Bellevue, Switzerland by auctioning its currently unreleased Type 20 Pilot’s watch.

On Feb, 2, Jean-Frédéric Dufour, President and CEO of Swiss watch manufacturer Zenith, attended the fourth charity gala for, what is now, the Womanity Foundatition. Known previously as the Smiling Children’s Association and founded in 2005, the Womanity Foundation announced its new name at the Feb 2. gala to draw focus to their mission: to empower women and girls to become active members of their societies through education, entrepreneurship and social programs. Zenith watches has a long-standing commitment to charity; they recently served as the presenting sponsor for the Norman Mailer Center benefit gala in November 2011.

Zenith CEO Jean-Frédéric du Four and French-Malian rapper Mokobé with Zenith Watches
Zenith CEO Jean-Frédéric du Four and French-Malian rapper Mokobé at the Womanity Foundation benefit gala on Feb. 2 wearing Zenith watches. Du Four wears the new Zenith Type 20 Pilot’s watch.

Held at the beautiful Geneva Country Club in Bellevue, Switzerland, the Womanity benefit gala featured international celebrities, performances and games for those who came out to support the foundation. Among the celebrities present were French-Malian rapper Mokobé, French solo singer and loop artist Anaïs Croze, 1999 Victoires de la Musique female artist of the year Axelle Red of Belgium, French singer and actress Arielle Dombasle, American actress Rosanna Arquette and French house group The Supermen Lovers. In appreciation of their support for the Womanity Foundation, Dufour presented each with a Zenith timepiece.

The charity auction was presided over by Swiss art auctioneer and collector Simon de Pury, chairman and chief auctionner of Phillips de Pury & Company. Called by BBC “the man with the golden gavel”, De Pury was the perfect candidate to auction the evening’s unique items, among them Zenith’s Type 20 Pilot’s watch.

Program for Womanity Gala charity auction 2012
The Womanity Foundation’s charity auction was moderated by Simon de Pury and raised over $1.5 million.

The Zenith Pilot Montre d’Aeronef Type 20 watch is a one-of-a-kind timepiece with the engineering sophistication expected from Zenith. The watch is part of Zenith’s tribute to military history and affords the highly-legible functionality of a military pilot’s watch. In fact, the case measures 57.7 mm!  Larger by far than most wristwatches, the Pilot Type 20 actually contains a movement originally designed for pocket watches and dashboard clocks. The watch features a classically styled black face, large white arabic numerals in all positions (except where the nine is partially obscured), prominent hands and a brown genuine leather strap with a titanium pin buckle. Zenith will only produce 250 of the limited edition timepieces, so motivated collectors will have to act fast to secure one.

The Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 with black face and brown strap
The Zenith Pilot Montre d’Aeronef Type 20 was featured in the auction and will be officially released in March.

Zenith’s contribution to the charity auction was a record-breaking sucess. The Pilot Montre d’Aeronef Type 20 sold for nearly five times its retail price of €7,800 ($10,300). Overall the gala was very successful, raising over 1,400,000 Swiss francs ($1.5 million) for the Womanity Foundation’s efforts. The Zenith Type 20 Pilot’s watch will be officially presented at the Baselworld exhibit in March.

New Zenith 2012 Models Presented in Geneva

Written by: Catherine Wolinski

Beginning Sunday, Jan. 15, the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Zenith presented its new models for 2012. The presentation, which continued throughout the week until Jan. 20, was held at the Hotel Kempinski in Geneva, Switzerland. The brand attracted press and retailers from across the globe to herald the year’s new models for the El Primero Collection.

The new pieces presented were the Chronomaster Open Grande Date Moon and Sunphases, and the Chronomaster 1969. Both pieces are offspring of the original El Primero, first released in 1969, which achieved fame as one of the first automatic chronograph movements. The watch was introduced with a frequency of 36,000 alternations per hour, a higher accuracy than the typical 28,000 alternations per hour, and perpetuated the brand’s reputation for quality and precision.

The star of the show was the Chronomaster 1969, which represents the brand’s heritage along with its future. The new chronograph has the original colors of the first El Primero of its kind, combining for the first time with the newer dial opening which reveals the “beating heart” of the watch movement, the signature of the Zenith brand.

Showcasing the chronographs was an appropriate decision for this year’s presentation, as Zenith is one of the few remaining Swiss manufacturers that produce their own movements in-house. Known for their durability and accuracy, the chronographs of Zenith are truly some of the most timeless timepieces of its kind.

Some notable guests of the conference included Pascal Zuberbuhler, a retired Swiss soccer player, and Colonel John Blashford-Snell, a previous Zenith ambassador known as a pioneer for the brand’s reputation and reverence.

The week’s celebrations also included a cheese party at the Zenith store in Geneva on Wednesday, Jan. 18. A traditional Swiss atmosphere was achieved as an assortment of wines, cheeses, and cured meats were served to guests throughout the day. All in all, Zenith succeeded in commemorating itself as it marked the beginning of a new year of brand achievement, and reminded the public of its legendary presence in the luxury watch industry.

Zenith 2012 Models at the Hotel Kempinski
Zenith 2012 Models at the Hotel Kempinski