Are Factory Restorations The Next Big Thing?

We only ask the question because not every watch brand enjoys the market dominance of Rolex, or even Breitling, Cartier or AP. They can afford to ignore the pre-owned vintage market, disregarding it as being too much trouble servicing and restoring antique timepieces. Better to sell customers a new one instead.

Those lesser Swiss brands, like Zenith could well be onto something when they hunt down rare models from their back catalogue and restore, factory fresh once again. There is a loyalty to be won over here, a devoted collector market that will invest in genuine factory resto watches, bit like a Jaguar E-Type recreation.

Here’s the word from Zenith;

After making its debut at Zenith Boutiques in Ginza, Shanghai, the ZENITH ICONS thematic capsule collections of historically significant vintage watches sourced, restored and certified by the Manufacture in Le Locle are finally coming to Zenith’s online boutiques in Europe, Japan and USA. And for its digital introduction, Zenith is offering an exceptionally pristine example of its most coveted early El Primero models in gold, the G381.

First unveiled earlier this week at VIVATECH 2021 in Paris, where Zenith joined LVMH and other group Maisons at what is considered Europe’s biggest startup and tech event at showcasing their latest innovations, the G381 symbolizes the Zenith Manufacture’s approach towards achieving a circular economy.

THE CIRCULAR ECONOMY IS A GOOD THING

Among speakers from the best tech brands and innovative startups, Zenith CEO Julien Tornare talked about how the Manufacture has the unique capacity to restore older products and keep them operating in perpetuity, in line with the core theme of this year’s VIVATECH expo, sustainability. Using past and present resources, components and know-how, watches from the past are given a second, certified life through ZENITH ICONS. Its latest addition, available for the first time exclusively on the Zenith online boutique, is perhaps its most exceptional yet.

An important reference in El Primero lore, the G381 was among the very first gold models designed to house the El Primero in 1969 and is considered the gold counterpart of the iconic A386. It had the same round case, decimal and tachymeter scales, and of course the earliest iteration of the seminal El Primero automatic high-frequency chronograph movement. A highly successful model for Zenith at the same time, it was reproduced in multiple small batches from 1969 to 1972. In total, only 1’000 pieces were ever made.

A GRAIL WATCH FOR A LIFETIME IS A GREEN WATCH

NWC mag can see that using the circular economy tactic goes soem way to head off the climate change zealots at the pass. There are elements in society now who seek to destroy capitalism itself and one of th ways they aim to accomplish this Marxist utopia is to use the `product miles’ argument against luxury goods manufacturers and brand names.

So by restoring watches from the past, brands can argue that new materials are being saved, throwaway `fast fashion’ culture is being rejected, and high quality jobs are being preserved for skilled artisans. It’s a win-win when it comes to combatting the ludicrous foot-stamping of Greta and her chums, so we say, good work Zenith.

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