Watches that are defining the biggest achievements in the eventful history of the Swiss watchmaker Zenith are temporary on display in the capital of the state of Qatar. All of the 18 timepieces are usually exhibited in the Zenith Museum in Switzerland. However, for a short period, the visitors of Doha’s Blue Salon will have a rare treat to take a peak to the most important pieces from the rich past of the renowned Swiss watch manufacturer that was established back in 1865.
The exhibition includes six antique pocket watches, dating all the way back to the beginnings of the company when George Favre-Jacot founded Zenith 147 years ago. Besides, the display also includes 12 iconic wristwatches. The collection includes timepieces that are important landmarks of the watchmaker, as well as the watches by the brand that were worn by some important historic figures.
Personal Watch of the Founder of the Brand
The watch that was the personal possession of Favre-Jacot is certainly one of the oldest in the collection. There is also another wonderful Zenith pocket watch that dates from the start of the 20th century. This piece includes a full calendar and moon phase display and a chronograph feature. The display in Doha is also a place to see the exceptional Calibre 135, conceived by the legendary Ephrem Jobin. The watch that was introduced back in 1948 was a product of efforts to achieve the highest precision possible. It is not difficult to display how successful these efforts were, considering that this model won around 200 awards, and two thirds of them were the first place accolades!
Besides, the display in Doha offers its visitors an opportunity to admire the fabulous El Primero watch which is not only important in the history of the brand, but can be considered as a true watchmaking landmark. This watch that appeared in 1969 is the very first self-winding chronograph in the world (Breitling claims it is their product from the same year, Chrono-Matic). All the other chronographs that came prior to this model needed to be hand-wound. However, it is not the only important information about this model, because it is also the most accurate serial-produced mechanism. Instead of the usual frequency of the 28,800 vibrations per hour, El Primero ran on 36,000 vph, thus offering improved accuracy that is still unmatched for the series-produced timepiece. The latest incarnation of the watch, named El Primero Striking 10th is also present. This model is a jumping seconds chrono watch that enables the smallest fraction of time that can be displayed by a mechanical movement that came from the serial production. As it names suggests, this unit is the 10th of second. Among other notable models featured in Doha, there is Zenith Captain, the model which includes the first movement by the brand which has a rotor that can be wound in both directions.
Gandhi and JFK’s Zeniths
Previously, we mentioned that the Zenith event in the capital of Qatar includes watches that belonged to some very important historical figures. The best example of this is the pocket watch that used to belong to Mahatma Gandhi. The man that symbolizes non violent resistance, and the person who was selected by the Time magazine as the second most important figure of the previous century (just after Einstein) owned Zenith’s silver keyless pocket watch with an alarm function. The timepiece with the white enamel dial, Arabic numerals and mechanical movement with 15 jewels was sold a couple of years ago for mind-boggling $1.8 million at the auction that was organized by Antiquorum, but eventually found its way back to the Zenith Museum in Switzerland. The other Zenith in the same category used to belong to another great historical figure, the 35th President of USA, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. It is a classic looking timepiece set in a square-shaped rose gold case, and it was made in the late 1950s.