When Julien Tornare took over as chief executive of Zenith in 2018, he acquired a pipeline of high-precision movements and cutting edge innovation in the form of El Primero chronographs capable of measuring one thousandths of a second and the all new Defy Lab regulator.
He also had the 50th anniversary of the El Primero automatic chronograph movement to plan for in 2019.
Job done all all fronts.
From the beginning of 2020, however, he says Zenith needs to be more inclusive. He wants everybody to “reach for their star” or “find their star”, a new marketing direction built around the star that appears on every Zenith watch face.
In a round table meeting with journalists at LVMH Watch Week in Dubai last week, he said the conversation had to move beyond El Primero and Defy, and he wants to remind customers and retail partners that Zenith has a rich archive of ladies’ watches and classical pieces for men and women.
“My main challenge when I came on board was that, outside Japan, Zenith was known only by watch connoisseurs. We need to reach a wider audience. We need to appeal more to people who are not specialists,” he said.
Zenith introduced 20 new references in Dubai, and expects an additional 35 to be unveiled at Baselworld. As if to underline the more inclusive direction Mr Tornare is taking Zenith, half of the watches launched last week were for ladies, with a fresh family of 36mm Defy Midnight watches taking center stage.
There are also 36mm versions of Zenith’s classical Elite watches launching this year alongside new 40.5mm pieces that Mr Tornare expects to be popular with both men and women.
Defy Midnight, priced at CHF 8,900 without a diamond-set bezel and CHF 10,900 with diamonds, is described as a versatile sporty-chic timepiece, thanks to the integrated steel bracelet bracelet style that has become so popular in men’s models. The steel bracelet can be swapped out without tools for three colors of leather straps, which gives it more versatility.
Zenith has stated that all mechanical movements will be made in house, and the Defy Midnight is no exception, housing the Elite 670 SK automatic calibre.
The dial has uses the Zenith star prominently as part of its logo at 12 o’clock. Customers have the options of a graduated blue or grey dial using printed miniature stars to make it look like the night sky or a mother of pearl face.
Zenith’s Elite is more classical and dressy in its 36mm and 40.5mm versions. They come in a restyled case from the original launched in 2010 housing Zenith’s Elite 670 SK, automatic movement.
The 36mm watches with diamond-set bezels and sunray textured dials come in steel for CHF 7,900 and 18ct rose gold for CHF 14,900. Add another CHF 1,000 for each watch if you want a moonphase model.
At 40.5mm, the steel version without moonphase is CHF 5,900 and a rose gold model costs CHF 12,900. Again, the addition of a moonphase bumps the price for either model by CHF 1,000.