The name Georges Favre-Jacot may not be associated with a prominent invention, but it is no less instrumental to watchmaking tradition; his contribution to modern watchmaking is omnipresent. Without Favre-Jacot, there might not even be the concept of a manufacture, where a company makes its watches from start to finish. Before Favre-Jacot, watchmaking was a cottage industry where dials were made by dial makers, cases by case makers, movements by movement makers, and so on.
Revolutionary in his own way, Favre-Jacot had the vision to unite all of the key watchmaking processes under one roof. So when he had the opportunity to start his own company, he brought representatives from all the different crafts to the manufacture named Zenith.
Accordingly, the timepiece that Zenith wants to make as a tribute to its founder has also got to be revolutionary. The Academy line carries the manufacture’s most illustrious complications, from the very unique Christophe Colomb gyroscopic balance to more traditional examples like the tourbillon, the perpetual calendar, as well as the minute repeater. Thus, this is also the collection that most befits a tribute piece to its founder.
Zenith introduced the Academy Georges Favre-Jacot on the occasion of its 150th anniversary. It was a stunning timepiece that features a large chain-and-fusée mechanism on the dial side. The follow-up model to this inspirational creation is the Academy Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot, which appears like a completely different watch.
Where its predecessor was classical in aesthetic, with a silver-toned dial decorated with grained texture and facetted gold indexes, the Academy Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot is undeniably ultramodern, boasting cutting-edge materials and a sexy all-black aesthetic. Its movement, too, was given a sleek industrial style design and finish. The decision to do away with a traditional dial is an especially judicious one, because then the wearer may fully appreciate the robust chain-and-fusée mechanism as well as the tourbillon – both invented hundreds of years ago but looking resolutely contemporary, no futuristic, in this timepiece. This is the first time that Zenith has combined the tourbillon with the chain and fusée.
Shrouded in darkness, its movement is the Calibre 4805, which can be clearly seen on both sides of the case. Given Zenith’s distinctive expertise with high frequency balances, it is only natural that Calibre 4805 oscillates at 36,000vph. Indeed, only Zenith is capable of making tourbillons that oscillate at 36,000vph.
While it is certainly a pleasure to observe, the tourbillon is not the only highlight because what defines the Georges Favre-Jacot from other Academy models is the chain and fusée. Of course, this means that Calibre 4805 is a hand-wound movement. Winding the barrels thus becomes even more pleasurable in this watch because every turn of the crown turns the barrel, which also turns the fusée as they are connected by the chain. When the mainspring is fully wound, the chain is coiled mainly around the fusée. As power gradually depletes from the mainspring, the chain also gradually uncoils, releasing power with increasing torque to provide constant force to the balance.
One of the most exciting timepieces to emerge from the Zenith manufacture, the Academy Tourbillon Georges Favre-Jacot is also a rare find – only 150 pieces will be made.
Functions: Hours, minutes
Power Reserve: 50 hours
Movement: Manual-winding Calibre 4805 tourbillon with chain and fusee
Case: Black ceramic
Water resistance: 50m
Strap: Black rubber with black PVD-coated titanium triple folding clasp
This article was first published at World of Watches.