Watches: Zenith Academy Georges Favre-Jacot (+live pics)

By Thierry Ané on February 2, 2015

This year, Zenith celebrates an important milestone: it is indeed 150 years since Georges Favre-Jacot founded the Manufacture. Thanks to his visionary ideas and the talent of the successive generations of watchmakers, the brand with the guiding star as logo has set an impressive number of records over the years including 300 patents, 600 movement variations and 2,333 prizes in the field of chronometry!

To pay tribute to this long and eventful History, the Swiss Manufacture has unveiled a 150-piece limited edition model that showcases their immense horological expertise. Simply named the Academy Georges Favre-Jacot, this new 45 mm timepiece with a thickness of 14.35 mm presents a very classic and understated round-shaped 18-karat rose gold case mounted on brown alligator strap with protective rubber lining and secured by a triple folding clasp.

This external simplicity is counter-balanced, however, by the extreme sophistication of its manually-wound El Primero 4810 calibre partially visible from the cut-out dial. This chronometer-certified movement entirely designed, developed and manufactured by the brand incorporates a century-old system used in pocket watches to compensate for the loss of amplitude inevitable when a movement is winding down: a fusée and chain mechanism!

Two years of research and development were necessary to accommodate this device into such a tiny space. In the Academy Georges Favre-Jacot an 18 cm long chain made of 575 parts keeps the driving force perfectly stable even during the letting down of the spring. Indeed, throughout the 50 hours of power reserve, the mainspring transmits its energy to the fusée via the chain which coils around the barrel and regularises the force distributed to the going train and then the silicon escape wheel.

When the watch is fully unwound, it is truly fascinating to see the barrel at 11 o’clock turn clockwise as you wind it, and the chain to once again wrap itself around the fusée at 1 o’clock for the system to be ready to ensure a “constant force” once again. Connoisseurs will also appreciate the impeccable finish of the two bridges screwed to the mainplate and supporting this elaborate mechanism.

The contrast between the extreme technical nature of this upper dial and the marvellous simplicity of the grained silver-toned lower dial is simply captivating. There, simple yet elegant rose gold-plated baton hour markers follow the railway-style minute track and two sub-dials provide the small seconds and power reserve indications. They use blued-steel hands just like the central hours and minutes for a perfect legibility. The sapphire crystal on the back of the case fully reveals the exceptional high-frequency calibre that animates this limited edition.

The Academy Georges Favre-Jacot is truly a remarkable piece of Fine Watchmaking and the perfect candidate to celebrate this 150th anniversary. Zenith has always prided itself on offering the very best of Fine Watchmaking at the most affordable price and with a price tag of USD 82,700 this exceptional model remains true to the Manufacture’s spirit: if you factor in the high-frequency El Primero COSC-certified movement with silicon escapement as well as the force constante due to the fusée and chain system, one has to admit that the watch is extremely fairly priced. A wonderful addition to a long list of exciting models…

For more information please visit the Zenith web site.

For a technical description of the timepiece and additional pictures: