Zenith is Third Most Searched Brand Behind IWC and Patek Philippe

 

One of the world’s most recognized and sought after luxury watch brands is Zenith Watches. The recent addition of the annual WorldWatchReport, which is based on reports of anonymous consumer searches on Google, Bing, Yandex, and Baidu, found that Zenith is the third most searched brand behind IWC and Patek Phillipe. Zenith accounted for 11% of the demand. Zenith’s innovative and desired designs get a new contender this year in the one of the brand’s newest pieces, the El Primero Chronomaster 1969. Zenith’s position as one of the world’s most searched watch brands is certainly helped by the addition of this timepiece to the brand’s collection.

Zenith Logo
Zenith is a Swiss Watchmaker

 

The three most searched watch brands, IWC (23 % share), Patek Philippe (16%), and Zenith (11%), accounted for 50% of all of demand for high-end watch brands. Part of this demand is due to the rise in demand from Chinese consumers. China has the highest digital demand for watches, overtaking the United States.

 

Zenith is a Swiss watch manufacturer that was started in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot. Known for their quality, Zenith is the winner of many watchmaking awards. Most recently the brand won the Geneva Watchmaking Grand Prix for Best Complicated Watch of the Year for their Christoph Colomb Equation of Time watch. In addition to the quality craftsmanship, Zenith has the distinction of being one of the few remaining Swiss watch manufacturers that still produces their own movements. One of the company’s most famous movements is the El Primero chronograph.

 

The El Primero chronograph, one of the first automatic chronograph movements, was initially released in 1969. This movement is characterized by it’s high positional accuracy, with 36,000 alternations per hour, compared with the standard 28,000 alternations. While being a newly designed watch, the El Primero Chronomaster 1969 is a nod back to that original release.

 

The new model features vintage-style round push buttons on the side. The design has an opening on the watch face that shows the El Primero movement at work. Water-resistant to 100 meters, the El Primero Chronomaster 1969 gives a nod back to the original 1969 model by retaining the three different colored counters and the red seconds chronograph hand on the watch face. The two 30-second counters at 3 o’clock are midnight blue and the 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock is anthracite. The watch is complete with an alligator leather strap.

 

Will the new El Primero Chronomaster 1969 cause consumers to search for Zenith at a higher rate or win awards like other Zenith models? Will this timepiece make it’s mark in the fastest growing market, China? It is too soon to tell. What is clear, though, that with this new piece Zenith gives a nod to it’s past while looking toward it’s future.

El Primero Chronomaster 1969
Zenith’s El Primero Chronomaster 1969

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

Luxury Watches Now and Then: Victorinox and Zenith

Let me delve into the history, and current day status, of my two all time favorite watch companies: Victorinox and Zenith (note: I may go off on a bit of a tangent describing a watch or two…I’m obsessed with these watches!)

Swiss Army Knife Company began manufacturing quality knives in Ibach, Switzerland in 1897. Like the Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox Swiss Army watches are known for their quality, endurance and classical design. These beautiful watches are crafted to the military’s highest standards and are put through the most rigorous task. Each watch is built to withstand extreme temperatures, impacts, humidity, magnetism and sudden shifts in altitude. Victorinox Swiss Army luxury watches come in gold, stainless steel and unblemished sapphire crystal.

The Victorinox Swiss Army men’s 241151 Chrono classical brown dial designer watch comes with an impressive array of features, including a classy brown dial with white numbers, illuminant silver hands, a chronograph, quartz movement and a brown leather band with fastener. There is a calendar at 4 o’clock and 3 sub dials at 2 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock. Each Victorinox Swiss Army men’s 241151 also comes with scratch resistant sapphire crystal, a water proof feature up to 330 feet and stainless steel 40mm round case and bezel. The Victorinox Swiss Army men’s 241151 Chrono luxury watch exhibits the highest standards of Swiss Army craftsmanship and design. The Victorinox Swiss Army men’s 241151 designer watch will make a handsome gift.

zenith watches

Zenith began designing and manufacturing designer watches in 1865. George Favre-Jacot founded Zenith and named it Zenith after the brightest star in the sky; the North Star. Zenith watches are cut from the latest technological advances and eye-catching design. Each watch operates on superb Swiss craftsmanship. Zenith creates their luxury watches from the finest materials, including unblemished sapphire crystal, stainless steel and leather. Zenith designer watches come with quartz movement and chronographs. Zenith watches make their mark in the luxury watch industry with their precise attention to detail and stunning designs.

The Zenith Baby Star Sea Open El Primero women’s watch 03.1223.68/87.C639 reflects the high standards of Zenith workmanship, with the stunning pink dial with curvy numbers and starts, chronograph, unblemished sapphire crystal, stainless steel bezel with numbers and pink leather bracelet with fastener. The water repellant feature of up to 100 feet, self perpetuating Chronometer movement and el Primero movement gives this luxury Zenith women’s watch a dependable and accurate appeal. To top things off Zenith added an sapphire crystal see through back for viewing pleasure. This lovely women’s timepiece with unique squiggly lettering on the bezel and the pink dial makes this watch a one of a kind.