On 18th March at precisely 3pm, Zenith, led by Jean-Claude Biver, President of the LVMH Watch Division and Aldo Magada, CEO and President of the brand, began the celebrations to mark its 150th anniversary year at Baselworld 2015. So for Zenith begins a year of experiences, events and watchmaking innovation. The Zenith press release takes up the story in its own breathless, Jean-Claude Biver-on-steroids style.
BLÉRIOT, GANDHI AND THE ROLLING STONES WERE IN ATTENDANCE
Since 1865, Zenith has built its story around ordinary heroes and extraordinary characters. It is a story of freedom, exploration, boundaries pushed and records broken. Ever further, higher, faster, spanning all territories and oceans, on rails, into space and out towards the stars, to read it is to immerse oneself in a vast, human tapestry, both geographical and technological.
And few brands have had the privilege of meeting Blériot, Gandhi, Mucha or the Rolling Stones; of voyaging through stories whose narratives create History in the truest sense, breaking the sound barrier, crossing the globe from pole to pole, stories in which breathtakingly small components are masterfully built into revolutionary mechanisms, accounts of thrilling races on the high seas and behind the wheel of collectors' cars.
Such is the odyssey recounted in the anniversary book previewed at the press conference. Written by Joël Duval, a passionate watch collector, this livre-objet, which comes in a luxury case, tells the story of the Manufacture in 400 pages and 650 illustrations, most of which have never been seen before. Published by Éditions Albin Michel, it will be available on 26th March.
THE ARRIVAL OF NEW HEROES
While the past is the theme of the anniversary book and retrospective film, there is no room for nostalgia. To celebrate the Manufacture's 150th anniversary, Aldo Magada has presented its history and heroes, but the accent is firmly on the 150 years to come. That's the beauty of Zenith's history: it's a never-ending story...
FÉLIX BAUMGARTNER AND HIS NEW CHALLENGES
Let's not forget that, when Félix Baumgartner leapt from the stratosphere, reaching a speed of 1357.6 km/h and becoming the first man to exceed the speed of sound in free-fall, he did so while wearing the El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th chronograph. Setting a number of other records, he also gathered precious data to aid the future of space exploration. Aldo Magada has announced that Félix is continuing his adventure with Zenith. In what way? His recent experiences as a driver could be one avenue. A new passion to be pursued alongside the brand, always driven by a desire to surpass himself, or simply to follow his dream!
DRIVER ERIK COMAS AND HIS PASSION FOR BEAUTIFUL MECHANISMS
As any connoisseur of mechanical excellence knows, Zenith is the brand of the elite driver. It was for this kind of hero that it conceived and created the wristwatch. Formula 3 champion in 1988 and F1 driver from 1991 to 1994, since 2000 Erik Comas has been earning himself a distinguished place in the historic car championships behind the wheel of his Lancia Stratos. An official Zenith partner, he is set to compete in the Italian and European championships from April to September 2015.
THE ADVENTURES CONTINUE WITH ERIC ABIDAL
Footballer Eric Abidal, along with his Foundation, will be the next personality to join forces with the Manufacture. This new partnership marks the start of a brand new chapter. Zenith will be investing in areas it has not yet explored. A fresh example of the determination and enterprising spirit to which the brand's illustrious founder continues to hold firm.
ONCE UPON A TIME, IN 150 YEARS…
BaselWorld was also notably an opportunity for the brand to set the tone for the years to come. Aldo Magada reiterated his desire to focus the brand on its expertise and central function as a watchmaking Manufacture. While high-precision mechanisms (obvious examples are the El Primero and Elite movements, or the revolutionary gravity control module) still hold a place of honour, Zenith wants to move with the times. The brand's aim with regard to future development: to perpetuate the founder's spirit using today's talent to create ever bolder but also more modern watches.
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