Watch of the Week: Zenith's Calibre 135 Observatoire Watch

Words by
Lee Cassanell

7th June 2022

Only ten of the restored timepieces will be available to purchase. 

zenith timepiece

Zenith has collaborated with Phillips and Voutilainen to create the Calibre 135 Observatoire, a limited edition of 10 restored and newly decorated vintage watches.

With over 230 chronometry prizes, the Calibre 135-O holds the most awards of any observatory chronometer calibre in the history of watchmaking. A Zenith chronometer accompanied Louis Blériot’s history-making flight across the English Channel and Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting stratospheric free-fall jump.

Developed from 1945 onwards by Ephrem Jobin, the Calibre 135 was produced from 1949 until 1962 and the new Calibre 135 Observatoire is inspired by the previous commercial wristwatch versions of the Calibre 135.

The restoration project was developed by Aurel Bacs, senior consultant at Phillips auction house and Alexandre Ghotbi, head of Continental Europe and the Middle East for Phillips.

“I’ve known Aurel Bacs and Alexandre Ghotbi for years,” said Zenith CEO, Julien Tornar:

“We’ve had discussions about Zenith’s patrimony and what were the hidden treasures that remained to be uncovered. Specifically, they asked about the Calibre 135. Then I had the idea, why don’t we collaborate with Phillips to create a special series around this movement? The beauty of having such a rich patrimony as Zenith’s is to share it.”

Each of the pieces will be housed in a walnut wooden box with brass fasteners and will be sold exclusively through Phillips. The cost of purchasing one of these rare timepieces has yet to be confirmed but with such a limited edition, expect the price tag to be on the large side.