While some brands get to lay claim as the first watch on the moon or the first watch on the top of Mount Everest, Zenith has the distinct honor of being the brand of choice of Mahatma Gandhi. Nevertheless, Zenith has a deep history beyond that $1.8 million pocket watch. They created some of the best chronograph movements ever produced and were chosen to power years of Rolex Daytona watches.
More importantly, however, Zenith was the first true modern watch manufacture. Their founder Georges Favre-Jacout bucked the trend of various artisans crafting various parts at disparate factories then sending those components to a central location for assembly. Rather, he designed, built, and assembled everything in-house where he could control the entire production process. It was a page directly out of Henry Ford’s book on vertical integration and it would set the standard for how modern watchmaking would evolve.
The Zenith Surf line was produced from the mid to late 70’s and was designed with many different case shapes and dial variants with almost every model featuring an in-house caliber 2572 movement. This movement came in two versions. The first variant, the caliber 2572C, as seen in this piece today, is a manual wind high beat movement (28,800 beats per hour) with an unconventionally placed date window between the 4 and 5 o’clock markers. The second variant, although very similar, was automatic.
It’s important to place this watch against the context of which it was born. The 1970s were a harsh time for traditional watch brands as the quartz crisis took a heavy toll on their businesses which makes these modern relics even more impressive, that they were deemed worthy of production during that time period, to begin with.
As you can see, the case of this watch has taken its fair share of abuse over the years. There are multiple scratches and dings throughout that tell the story of a life of use and wear. However, all of the original parts are present and intact while the edges of the watch are still crisp and defined. All of this makes this watch the perfect candidate for restoration should you be so inclined. It would make a great daily wear, one you wouldn’t have to be worried about if (read: when) you knock it into something.
The Dial and Hands
The silverish dial is simple and to the point. It features applied polished hour markers, a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock, and an applied Zenith insignia at the top of the dial. The dial shows very well with no discoloration, wearing, or signs of poor service. The hands are correct for the watch with the lume still intact.
This watch is powered by the Zenith caliber 2572C, a 17 jewel, manual wind movement. The movement is signed with the caliber number and the manufacturer. The watch is running and keeping good time but the service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Manual Caliber 2572C|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Leather Strap|