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.