Zenith Watches Review – Elegance, Tradition and Complications

Zenith Watches – Elaborate and Elegant


Zenith Watches - Pilot Type 2 ladiesThere are a lot of Swiss watchmakers that have been around since the 19th century, and many of them have been quietly purring along ever since, creating amazing works of art with little fanfare.

Zenith watches certainly qualify; most Americans would associate the company name with an American television manufacturer.   If you like quality, elaborate construction and true things of beauty, you’ll want to embrace Zenith watches, because they incorporate old-school mechanical movements with modern build quality and timeless design.

They make a lot of limited edition luxury watches, too, so chances are you’ll be the only one in your social circle to own one.  Once you see what this brand has to offer, you will want to own one.

Read on for the full Zenith watches review.

Build Quality
Styling and Features
Care and Maintenance
Where to Buy

Like many Swiss watchmakers, Zenith dates to the mid-19th century.  The company was founded in 1865 by then-22 year old Georges Favre-Jacot.  Favre-Jacot established the company in the small city of Le Locle, a town that is now home to a number of other Swiss watchmaking firms, including Tissot, Mideo, and Ulysse Nardin.  The company still has headquarters in Le Locle today, though they are now owned by French conglomerate LVMH.

Zenith Watches Build Quality

The build quality is quite good, as you might expect from a company that’s 150 years old.  They take pride in their work, and it shows in their use of materials, which include stainless steel, titanium and gold cases.  They use expensive sapphire crystal to protect the face, and they use mechanical movements that were built in-house, which few companies bother to do any more, as many buy their movements from third party suppliers.

Water resistance is good, with some models offering up to 1000 meters worth of protection.  That varies by model, of course, but in general, these are rock-solid timepieces that should run well for years to come.

Zenith Watches Movements

While they do offer quartz watches from time to time, most models feature automatic mechanical movements, built in-house at the factory in Switzerland.  Many of their higher end models feature elaborate complications and a few showy ones even include a tourbillon.

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You don’t last for more than a century in the Swiss watchmaking world without offering your buyers something above and beyond the time of day. As we’ve previously mentioned Zenith watches are often built with elaborate complications including moon phases, a tourbillon, chronograph features, reserve power indicators, the date, a perpetual calendar, a leap year indicator, and more. A number of models are of a skeleton design in order to show off the complex inner works.

Styling and Features

Zenith Watches - Christoph Columbe Equation du TempsYou’ll find a nice range of styling and features in Zenith watches; they certainly offer a number of traditionally designed models, if you like that 1950s look, with a basic white face and a leather band.  Many people do, and if that describes you, then you’ll be happy.  On the other hand, they do offer some color, diamonds if you like, gold for those who want it, and lots of models with fancy gadgets that are easily seen through the transparent face.

In short,this brand offers something for everyone, and many of their models are truly something to see.  If you like truly “out there” designs, they’ve got that angle covered, too.  Their styles are suitable for business wear, evening wear (lots of bling!) and sports use.

Many of the models in the company’s product line are limited editions; sometimes they make fewer than 100 of a give model, making them both desirable and rare.  This is particularly true of their more complex pieces.

Care and Maintenance

As most Zenith Watches are elaborate mechanical devices, they will require occasional maintenance above and beyond what you’d ordinarily expect from a wristwatch.  The company recommends that you return the timepiece to them every 3-5 years for service, depending on use.

This will involve disassembly and examination for worn parts, replacement if necessary, reassembly, lubrication, testing for accuracy and water resistance and cleaning the timepiece to restore it to like-new appearance.  Aside from this consideration, you’ll want to store your watch in a cool, dry, place, away from extremes of temperature or strong magnetic fields.

You should wear your watch at least once a month to keep them running smoothly, and ideally, you should store your timepiece in a watch winder to keep it running properly and displaying the accurate time.

Zenith Watches Warranty

You’ll find that the is about the average for the luxury watch industry; they’re guaranteed for two years against defects in materials and craftsmanship.  These are high quality mechanical devices that are thoroughly tested prior to leaving the factory, so you’re unlikely to find defects very often.  The every-five-years service work includes a one-year warranty of its own, so you should be in good hands for years to come when you buy Zenith Watches.


Zenith Watches - Captain Winsor annualYou’ll find that prices range from expensive to extremely expensive.  On the low end, we’ve seen models priced at about $4000; this is for a basic, but attractive, stainless steel model with a leather strap and basic hours-minutes-seconds display.

If you want titanium, gold, diamonds, or something super-complicated, the price goes up quite a bit from there; we’ve seen models priced in the $250,000 range.  Many models can be purchased in the $10,000-$15,000 range, which makes them expensive but not overwhelmingly so, at least in terms of luxury timepieces.

There’s quite a bit of collector interest in the brand, particularly in vintage models and limited editions.  We’re not suggesting that you should purchase as an investment, but it’s quite possible that the timepiece you purchase today could become more valuable with time.

Where to Buy

As with many luxury products, this brand has carefully controlled distribution in order to limit availability and to control pricing.  Scarcity breeds demand, so you’re only going to find the brand for sale through a limited number of authorized retailers.  That’s the official word, anyway.

Unofficially, it is possible to buy at a discount through a few online retailers.  Keep in mind that the company’s product line is diverse and that many models are limited in production, so you’re unlikely to find any single retailer, online or off, who can show you the entire product line.

Zenith Watches Summary

Zenith watches bring a rich history of innovation, design and quality construction to the table, and their products can rank with those of any of the world’s great luxury wristwatch manufacturers.  They offer good build quality, diversity of design, elaborate construction and good water resistance.

They make a highly reliable timepiece that should run for years or perhaps decades with little trouble.  Their models are often limited, so if you buy one, you’ll be in elite company.  All in all, Zenith Watches have a lot to offer anyone who values fine design and quality construction in a luxury timepiece.

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