In 1865, 22-year-old Georges Favre-Jacot founded his watch manufacture in Le Locle, giving birth to the watch brand we know today as Zenith. To mark Zenith’s 150th anniversary in 2014, the brand launched the Academy Georges Favre-Jacot, a limited-edition timepiece featuring a rare and ancient complication.
A special occasion deserves a special timepiece, and Zenith delivers. The Zenith Academy Georges Favre-Jacot houses a very special interpretation of the brand’s famous high-frequency, hand-wound El Primero movement. The opening in the upper dial reveals a fusée and chain transmission, with the barrel between 10 and 11 o’clock and the fusée and chain located between 1 and 2 o’clock.
This mechanism alleviates the loss of balance wheel amplitude that results as the mainspring winds down, which reduces the force produced by the barrel. Throughout the 50-hour power reserve, the mainspring transmits its energy to the fusée via the chain which coils around the barrel. The fusée’s helical or spiral shape evens out the force distributed to the going train, then on to the silicon escape-wheel. Two bridges screwed to the mainplate support the arbors of the fusée and barrel, giving the watch a late 19th-century architectural look. The movement contains 797 parts and it is a COSC-certified chronometer.
The chain that acts as the transmission between the barrel and the fusée comprises 575 parts and measures seven inches long. Though it appears quite delicate, the chain is able to withstand the repeated application of up to 3 kilograms of force. It took Zenith watchmakers two years to accommodate the fusée and chain mechanism in the small space required for this timepiece.