Zenith ICONS, a second life for the manufacture’s most emblematic vintage timepieces
With Zenith ICONS, the Zenith Manufacture gives watch enthusiasts a chance to own a piece of watchmaking history. This highly exclusive collection of vintage watches offers only the most iconic pieces of the brand, which are authenticated, restored and certified by the Manufacture in Le Locle, Switzerland.
The concept begins with a curated selection of the most well-preserved iconic Zenith watches. When a watch that appears to be in excellent condition is found, the Heritage department at the Manufacture conducts research to ensure that all the parts are genuine and coherent. The Manufacture then purchases the watch and the Heritage department and its restoration workshops will establish the specifications for its restoration, in accordance with standard practice.
To respect its exceptional heritage, Zenith keeps the original components and materials as long as the function is preserved. For components requiring replacement, it uses historical spare parts from its exceptional stock of original supplies. Finally, a passport, registered in the archives of the Manufacture’s historical department, is issued and printed in a single copy. It is completed by hand by the Heritage Department and signed by the watchmaker in charge of its restoration, ensuring the traceability of the watch for generations to come. To complete the historical experience, the watches are delivered in a special blue leather case, inspired by those that Zenith used in the past.
Now on the eve of the inauguration of its second set of Zenith ICONS, within a second boutique, Zenith is going to meet watch enthusiasts in different markets for which it is launching capsule collections based on a shared history, function or theme. One of the first selections, available at Zenith’s Shanghai boutique, features two references with the distinctive “square barrel” case, signed with the Zenith 4-pointed star: the A384 with its “panda” dial, and the A385, which stands out with its “shaded smoky brown” gradient dial, unprecedented at the time.
The A386 – an icon among chronograph wristwatches – became one of the most significant references in the history of the El Primero calibre, while the A3818, nicknamed “Cover Girl”, stood out for its vertically satin-brushed oxidized blue dial with a “pyramid track” fractional scale. Dating from 1969 to 1972, the four watches are some of the earliest and most iconic El Primero references.
Commenting on the significance of the Zenith ICONS collection for the Manufacture, CEO Julien Tornare said: “This is an exciting new chapter for Zenith’s legacy, and I’m extremely proud of the teams at the Zenith Manufacture for taking on this initiative. We are bridging the past with the future by celebrating Zenith’s rich history and the references that have become true icons of watchmaking. These rare pieces can now embark on a second life using existing resources at the Manufacture, and I’m really excited to share these pieces of history with our customers. This is just the beginning!”