To properly celebrate the 50th anniversary of its El Primero movement this year, Zenith organizes an event each month in a different city, bringing together some fifty guests. The event, which is more than just a dinner, is called "Grenier Club". It is a way, of course, through this name to pay tribute to Charles Vermot who saved the plans, the tools, the machines from the destruction to avoid the definitive disappearance of the movement following the decision of the then owner of Zenith to dedicate the full production exclusively
to quartz watches. And it was in the attic of the factory that the boxes containing all the elements allowing the resurrection of the El Primero would be found. This resurrection which would come several years later, in 1984.
The Grenier Club visited Paris a few days ago. Guests (customers, retailers, journalists) were able to discover the 50th anniversary set and the 3 watches it contains. But they also had the opportunity to see through several displays the main watches that marked the history of El Primero.
The place in which the event was held proposed, to complete this very horological approach, a more artistic exhibition that presented pictures of students from the ECAL (Cantonal Art School of Lausanne) depicting the universe of Zenith. These photos, most of them very daring and contemporary, reminded us that the El Primero movement is not only a thread between the past and the present of the Manufacture. It will, more than ever, preside over the destiny of Zenith as evidenced by the new dynamic brought by the Defy El Primero 21.
Julien Tornare, CEO of Zenith, recalled this new impetus during the event and the many projects that will shape the future of the Manufacture. The brand moves and even finds again its essence by putting innovation at the heart of its approach. While Zenith relies on the capabilities of the watchmaking division of LVMH, the fact that Zenith watches materialize and implement these developments is consistent and brings a lot of hope to the brand.
I propose you to discover the photos taken during the event:
The impressive table of the event was set up in a beautiful venue:
I found my seat!
A good Zenith event always welcomes a watchmaker! And he brought some nice calibers, even a tourbillon one!
Some pictures of the ECAL exhibition:
Denis Chavé, Zenith brand manager for France and Benelux did the starting speech:
Julien Tornare highlighted the role played by Charles Vermot. Without him, we would not have been in position to celebrate this 50th anniversary.
Michel Vermot, Charles Vermot's son, had some very moving words about his father. Charles Vermot's family didn't understand why he was coming back home so late... he was actually hiding the El Primero tools and plans in the attic when the manufacture was empty.
Music! And the band had the very good idea to play some titles like "Time after Time" which were very consistent with the event!
The displays were presenting several key pieces which marked the history of El Primero.
The atmosphere of the event:
I spotted obviously some very nice pieces... I was wearing my Cronometro CP2 Purists:
The Defy El Primero 21 Limited Edition Vendôme which was celebrating the pop-up store on the famous square of Paris:
My Cronometro CP2:
But, it is a bit a paradox, the star of the show was not an El Primero watch. The guests could appreciate the Defy Inventor worn by Julien Tornare:
I was happy to meet Julien Tornare and to feel that Zenith is finding again a new dynamic:
With Ruben from Belgium, Joke of the De Greef boutique and Damien from Zenith Watches:
I would like to thank a lot the Zenith team for the great event! The Defy Inventor piece and of course, the Defy El Primero 21 are the proofs that Zenith is on the right way, taking advantage of the LVMH watchmaking pole.