Zenith will make its most awarded motion “from the golden age of chronometry competitions” obtainable once more, due to an concept from Phillips’ Aurel Bacs and Alexandre Ghotbi. Phillips in Affiliation with Bacs & Russo additionally managed to usher in unbiased watchmaker Kari Voutilainen to revive and hand-decorate a batch of Zenith Calibre 135-O actions, all of which took half and gained in observatory chronometer competitions. The result’s a recent chronometer produced in a sequence of solely 10 items, and bought solely by Phillips in affiliation with Bacs & Russo. Zenith CEO Julien Tornare: “I’ve identified Aurel Bacs and Alexandre Ghotbi for years. We’ve had discussions about Zenith’s patrimony and what had been the hidden treasures that remained to be uncovered. Particularly, they requested concerning the Calibre 135. Then I had the concept, why don’t we collaborate with Phillips to create a particular sequence round this motion?”
Since its basis in 1865, Zenith has gained nicely over 2’330 chronometry prizes, with one motion outshining all others in the course of the golden period of observatory chronometer competitions, the Calibre 135-O. Developed from 1945 onwards by Ephrem Jobin, the Calibre 135 was produced from 1949 till 1962 in two distinct variations: a industrial variant, and a second iteration made solely for collaborating in chronometry competitions on the Observatories of Neuchâtel, Geneva, Kew Teddington, and Besançon. These “O” actions, which had been by no means commercialized nor cased in wrist or pocket watches, underwent exhaustive testing by means of drastically completely different temperatures, shocks and working in 6 completely different positions, constantly delivered optimum chronometric efficiency with minimal variations in fee. With over 230 chronometry prizes, the Calibre 135-O holds probably the most awards of any observatory chronometer calibre within the historical past of watchmaking.
“Wouldn’t or not it’s nice to do a kind of tremendous restricted version with Calibre 135? Julien and Romain [Marietta, Head of Product & Heritage at Zenith] got here again to us and stated ‘guys, we’ve got a shock for you.’ However who would’ve thought that they might include the true, observatory examined, kind of Components 1 profitable actions? That is how it began.”
The ten actions chosen for this very restricted version belong to the “serial profitable” years from 1950-1954, when the 135-O gained the competitors 5 years in a row. They had been ready for the competitions and fine-tuned yearlong by the Zenith Laboratoire de Chronométrie. All 10 actions had been awarded prizes throughout the 1st class vary and had all been regulated by celebrated Zenith chronométriers Charles Fleck & René Gygax, who labored on the prize-winning actions 5 years in a row. Tasking Kari Voutilainen with the restoration and ending of those historic actions elevated them from uncooked competitors items to haute horlogerie creations of the best order. Alexandre Ghotbi: “These calibres had been made for competitions. They weren’t made to be worn or to be aesthetically pleasing. So, if we’re going to make a wristwatch out of this legendary calibre, who ought to we ask to take it to the following stage? Instantly we stated, Kari Voutilainen. He’s an absolute grasp”.
Calibre 135 Observatoire Restricted Version
The Calibre 135 Observatoire is impressed by previous industrial wristwatch variations of the Calibre 135. The 38-mm platinum spherical case options tapered lugs that seamlessly match underneath the bezel, in addition to an outsized notched crown emblazoned with the fashionable Zenith star brand. Beneath the sapphire glass field, the marginally domed black dial in sterling silver by Kari Voutilainen’s Comblémine atelier options guilloché engraving in a fish-scale motif. Triangular hour markers and utilized polished dot markers in rhodium-plated German silver and stable gold palms are juxtaposed in a mix of classic class and up to date opulence. The outsized second counter at 6 o’clock is inscribed with the motion’s serial quantity, denoting the distinctive nature of every of those watches and the way every was totally regulated by revered chronométriers Charles Fleck or René Gygax, then handed on the supremely expert palms of Kari Voutilainen and his devoted group of watchmakers. The dial is signed “Neuchâtel” on the backside, as Zenith, Kari Voutilainen and the historic Observatory the place the Calibre 135-O competed and gained.
The observatory chronometer motion is seen by means of a sapphire show again. Cleaned and completed by the grasp restoration watchmaker, the motion has been refined with hand chamfered and polished edges on the gold-coloured bridges, bevelled and polished screw-heads, round graining on the primary plate, snailed brushing on the ratchet and crown wheels and rather more. Kari Voutilainen: “The individuals engaged on these actions had been the perfect watchmakers on the time. That they had the know-how to make issues exact. That precision doesn’t disappear after 70 years. Our obligation was to not contact that efficiency.”