Reviewing Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic Hands-On Watch
When the watch craze begun for me, somewhere in the 1990’s, I met with a watchmaker (who I became friends with) who had this interest in Zenith’s El Primero chronograph movements. Oh, and gold watches. He showed me his Zenith El Primero Chronomaster with full calendar in gold and I was sold. Every time I see this watch – be it in gold or stainless steel – I remind myself to buy that watch at some point.
So, when Zenith luxury watch for sale contacted me whether we would be interested in doing a review and photo shoot on their Zenith Elite Chronograph Classic I immediately said yes. A while ago Bert and I traveled to Switzerland to do a little tour visiting watch manufacturers and one of them was Zenith (you can find the visit report here). It was one of the most impressive visits I have done so far since 2004.
Sure, there are manufactures that do beautiful things as well, like A. Lange & Söhne’s hand-engraving on the balance-cock of the movement, Grönefeld’s painstakingly polishing on their movements or name some of the other (independent) high-end watchmaking brands and people. However, when visiting Zenith in Le Locle in the winter of 2014, the old buildings that houses approximately 250 employees working on watches gave me the feeling of being in a little village of watchmaking with all their (connected) buildings. Walking in the workshops, in the original old building style made me feel being in the 1950s, despite all the modern equipment in the rooms. We’ve seen the entire process, from the department with designers and product development, the room where they cut the big bars of brass into movement plates, to the end of the process where watches are being cased and made ready for shipment.
Some brands only show the process of casing or perhaps the assembly of movements, but at Zenith we were able to see everything, from the first steps till the final checks and making the watch ready for shipment. It left a huge impression on us.