Zenith watches in the global watch industry have always been known for ‘high precision, rugged and reliable’, and the word ‘precise’ is due to Zenith in 1969 The world’s first integrated automatic chronograph movement, El Primero (‘the first’), launched in the year. It bounces at a speed of 36,000 oscillations per hour, and its accuracy is as high as 1/10 seconds, making it a legend of the enduring generation of watchmaking. This year, at the 50th anniversary of the birth of the King of El Primero Chronograph, we interviewed Mr. Julien Tornare, CEO of Zenith, and started a dialogue on the future development of Zenith watches.
Mr. Julien Tornare
Watch House: Hello, Mr. Julien Tornare, I am very honored to celebrate the 50th anniversary of EL PRIMERO with you. So in your opinion, what are the biggest changes and gains of Zenith in the past 50 years?
Julien Tornare: Zenith has made a name for itself with the legendary El Primero movement (the brand launched the world’s first integrated automatic chronograph movement El Primero in 1969, creating a landmark in the history of watches). Li Shi has developed more than 600 movements. Today, in the field of chronograph watches, Zenith has again created a chronograph movement with an accuracy of 1/100 second based on the El Primero movement, and launched the world’s most accurate watch-Defy El Primero 21 , And later Defy Inventor, raised the level of precision of mechanical watches to a whole new level. We take pride in innovation and avant-garde design, build the future on the basis of past achievements, and strive to create a new era in precision and time measurement.
Watch House: For your convenience, what kind of surprise will the EL PRIMERO movement bring to us in the future?
Julien Tornare: Although the El Primero movement has been evolving since its invention, it continues to inspire new creative ideas, making watches equipped with this movement a collector’s watch cherished by connoisseurs, but Zenith has never before Re-released works faithful to the original El Primero watch. In the 50-piece limited edition box set released this year, it includes the first El Primero chronograph replica in 1969, an improved El Primero flagship watch with improved movement and Defy accurate to 1 / 100th of a second. El Primero 21 watch. In addition to these three watches, the fourth watch case reserved in the box belongs to the future. This vacancy heralds Zenith’s next feat in the ultra-high frequency domain-the launch of a 1/1000 second chronograph movement!
Watch House: Can you give us a brief introduction, why is the new Defy Inventor so important to Zenith? How will Zenith present to the audience?
Julien Tornare: Zenith was able to develop and produce complete mechanical movements equipped with speed control mechanisms, demonstrating the ultimate strength of the brand. The DEFY Inventor watch, as the mass production model of the DEFY Lab (experimental model, limited to 10 pieces worldwide) launched in 2017, its successful launch represents a remarkable achievement of Zenith, namely Sexual ‘Zhenli Shizhen’ (made of monocrystalline silicon, one-piece, its details are more fine than human hair, used to replace the balance with hairspring. Conventional speed control mechanism contains about 30 components, need to be assembled, Adjust, set, test and lubricate, the thickness is usually 5 mm; in contrast, the new speed governing mechanism contains only individual components and is only 0.5 mm thick.) Replaces the three and a half century hairspring used in the mechanical watchmaking industry The balance wheel. In the short term, we will first produce hundreds of Defy Inventor and bring it to market.
DEFY Inventor is just the beginning of this exciting change. In a sense, this change is still in an experimental stage, because it breaks the traditional concept of watchmaking, boldly innovates and revolutions, so it is still constantly improving and developing. But for now, we must actively respond to these technological needs that are far higher than our existing watchmaking processes. In the future, we will apply this groundbreaking technology to different watch designs in different forms.
Watch House: In addition to the Defy series, the Zenith Pilot series is also very popular. Like the brand’s silver model this year, will there be new changes or breakthroughs in this series in the future? What will be the focus of innovation?
Julien Tornare: The pilot series is one of Zenith’s most important product lines. We have been manufacturing watches for pilots since the early days of aviation. It is also the only watchmaking brand currently allowed by law to have the Pilot logo engraved on the dial. This year, we have introduced new members of the Pilot Series-Pilot’s Type 20 Adventurer Watch, and Pilot’s Type 20 Adventurer’s Chronograph-both of which represent true flying DNA. We will continue to attach great importance to the development of this product line, and we will definitely introduce more new products in the future.
Watch House: We all know that the second-hand market and the e-commerce market are huge today, so what do you think of the current trade business in this area?
Julien Tornare: Although we are not involved in the second-hand watch market, strengthening our online business is a key element of Zenith’s future strategy. Our cooperation with online luxury fashion platform Farfetch is the ideal embodiment of this strategy. And, to celebrate Zenith’s launch on the US e-commerce platform, we recently released a DEFY Classic Swizz Beatz timepiece exclusively sold on this platform. For us, the importance of Zenith’s watchmaking tradition is unquestionable, but being actively involved in digital commerce that represents future trends is also an exciting initiative.
Watch House: Ask a personal question, what led you to Zenith?
Julien Tornare: Zenith is an excellent watchmaking brand, it has a legendary watchmaking epic and an infinite watchmaking future. In just a century and a half, it has won more than 2,333 timekeeping awards. The El Primero movement, born in 1969, is by far the leader in mechanical timing. Zenith’s extraordinary foundation in watchmaking skills and its accurate grasp of the future direction of the watch industry have pushed it to continue to push the limits of the precision of mechanical watches and produce more accurate chronograph movements-such as the vibration frequency reached 1/100 second of Defy El Primero 21. A brand not only writes its own future, but also the future of the entire Swiss watch industry. Why do I not join Zenith?
Mr. Julien Tornare
This dialogue with Mr. Julien Tornare made us deeply feel that whether it is the first El Primero model in history in 1969 or the Defy El Primero 21 watch in 1/100 second, it is perfectly transmitted to the public. Out: The passion for watchmaking that Zenith never stopped. Let us wait and see, what kind of surprise will the next 1/1000 second chronograph movement bring us!