Clichés often don’t stand up to the test of history, and those that would have us believe that watches are essentially men’s business have certainly got it all wrong! During the fi rst centuries of horological history, they were worn on long chains called chatelaines, as cuff-watches, and on long sautoir necklaces. Later, they were attached to handbags, belts… and to the wrist. Quite clearly, timepieces have always appealed to women. When Georges Favre-Jacot founded the fi rst large watch manufacture in 1865, by bringing together under one roof in Le Locle the entire range of watchmaking professions, he displayed an equal interest in both genders. His visionary idea of thus uniting the skills of numerous artisans served to optimise research and development in the field of horological mechanisms and thereby to provide the most accurate possible movements and the most pleasing watch cases for both him and her. Dials were crafted from mother-of-pearl or stones and mechanisms were miniaturised in order to create genuine pieces of jewellery telling the time, and consistently placing technical skill in the service of beauty. Throughout its history, Zenith has loved women just as much as women love watches, and has thereby succeeded in enriching watchmaking with vibrant colour and feminine delicacy.
Witness a letter addressed by countess Anna de noailles in 1912 to the company director regarding her Replica Zenith watch. This author, who became the fi rst woman to be named a commander of the prestigious french Legion of honour and was an eminent figure within early 20th century parisian literary circles, expressed fulsome praise for her “charming watch” that she “wore with great pleasure”. In an exquisitely poetic manner, she managed to find just the right words to describe the perfect blend of technical and aesthetic considerations embodied in Zenith’s ladies’ timepieces: “the delightful and salutary agate surrounds the most practical and visually pleasing dial one could possibly imagine.”
El Primero 36,000 VPH 38mm Lady In 2011, the manufacture Zenith is writing a new chapter in the saga of its enduring romance with the fair sex. The world’s most precise movement, the legendary el primero, appears within a 38 mm case perfectly suited to women’s wrists. Its excellent performances are governed by its balance oscillating at the rate of ten times a second, meaning considerably faster than usual – just as a heart beats faster when in the grip of a power-ful emotion. The high-frequency automatic chronograph and the tachometric scale are intended for women of action, but also of elegance and refinement: the chocolate-toned dial and chestnut brown crocodile leather strap are in entirely in harmony with the rose gold case and hour-markers. The delicately diamond-pavé bezel and lugs further enhance the sensuality of this model. the date appears between 4 and 5 o’clock. Whether in steel grey or glacier blue dial versions with a mother-of-pearl base or pavé hour-markers, and even fitted with a metal bracelet, the different variations provide a broad spectrum of combinations that is matched only by the many styles of wear that are bound to be explored by their future owners.