Zenith watches are designed and assembled in the company’s own workshops in Le Locle, Switzerland. Thus Zenith is legitimately entitled to use the word manufacture in the company name, as in ‘Zenith Manufacture’. This tradition has its roots in the French language where the word manufacture means ‘manufacturing company’.
But Zenith watches have another reason to be particularly proud, and that is their association with Mahatma Gandhi – the pre-eminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement. Gandhi lived a very modest existence and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, which was woven with yarn he had hand spun himself. He ate simple vegetarian food, and did not own many material objects.
As can be seen in the photograph above, one of the few things Gandhi did have was a Zenith watch – a pocket alarm watch, shown in detail below.
Georges Favre-Jacot, who founded the company in 1865, was very keen to see his watches widely distributed. And so he travelled far and wide promoting Zenith watches.
The early 20th century saw the expansion of travel, for pleasure and business. Favre-Jacot believed that having a reliable watch and being able to wake up on time were essential requirements for all travellers. From 1915 onwards the pocket alarm watch became an iconic watch in the Zenith collection.