Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Some More Boxing Day Leftovers - Zenith

This originally ran over a year ago.  I think a lot of it is still true, and it seemed like a good time to look back -

Why Zenith Matters


I will not speak false flattery here, there was a brief time prior to the current management team at Zenith that really made me scratch my head and wonder.  A wonderful brand had been turned on its head.  In all fairness, the name of Zenith grew incredibly fast, gaining renewed interest here in the US.  But it was done at a great cost.

And then change came about again with the arrival of a new management team who still looked forward, but did not abandon the past.

Think about the company as a whole - this was the sort of place where a watch maker was not merely asked - but ORDERED to literally throw away all of the mechanical movements in his possession.  And instead of following those instructions to the letter, he hid them!  And thank goodness that he did!  Sort of reminds me of the scene in the Red Violin when the violin is hidden during the cultural revolution in China. 

And it seems fitting, and in that spirit that I will share with you perhaps the main reason why Zenith matters - they are in the PEOPLE business.  It just so happens that they make watches.  What do I mean by this?

So a quick homework assignment before you complete reading this post.  Visit this link at watch - u - seek, and read this story -

Okay - homework finished?  Welcome back!

I have to say that I am jealous of Mick Mooren, not because of the wonderful interaction he had with Zenith and Mr. Dufour, or his abilities as a budding watch maker.  No, I am truly jealous of his ability to tell a story.  It makes me re-think my chosen profession!

But why this matters?  Let's be honest, there was NOTHING in it for Zenith to do what they did.  It's not like Mick was a customer, but Mr. Dufour and the people at Zenith clearly understand something that many of the the "Big Dogs" seem to have forgotten.  The watch business is not simply about sell-throughs, moving stock, etc.  It is about people, and the relationships that come with them.  That relationship moves beyond the watch itself, and instills a real connection to the watch owner.

I have never owned a Zenith - but now I want one.  Not owing to the history of the movement manufacturing, the legend of the El Primero, or the status.  No, I want a Zenith, because now I have an idea of the sort of people working there, and the sort of person running the company.  I like them.  Don't get me wrong - Zenith is wonderfully innovative, dynamic and historically significant.  But so are a lot of manufacturers.  No, Zenith is in the people business.  And that is why Zenith matters.

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