Zenith watches join Rolex and Patek on waitlists as sales surge

26 July 2022

By Andy Hoffman

(Bloomberg) — Customers seeking to buy Zenith brand watch models including the Chronomaster Sport and Defy Skyline are now having to join waitlists as sales for the Swiss brand surge.

“We have a shortage and there is very little chance to get one without a long waiting time,” Julien Tornare, the president and chief executive officer of LVMH-owned Zenith, said in an interview.

The Zenith models join brands like Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe with watches where demand outstrips supply, forcing customers to join waiting lists with retailers. The manufacturer has revived interest in the brand thanks to newer releases like the Chronomaster Sport and retro pieces including the Chronomaster Original featuring tri-colored subdials.

Zenith watch sales are also rising overall, Tornare said, with sales in the first 7 months of the year up about 45% compared with last year’s record performance, which was highest since the storied Swiss brand was acquired by LVMH in 1999.

“It’s very positive in an environment which is still not perfect,” Tornare said, referring to continued disruptions in China because of Covid-19 lockdowns and concerns of weakening economies in the US and Europe.

The Chronomaster Sport, a chronograph powered by Zenith’s El Primero movement, sells for about 10,900 Swiss francs (US$11,313) and is the company’s top selling watch model.

The Defy Skyline, another El Primero caliber-powered model, retails for about 8,400 Swiss francs. It was launched earlier this year, taking design cues like the octagonal case from the original watch first introduced in the 1960s.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley and LuxeConsult estimate that Zenith, based in the Swiss town of Le Locle, had sales of about 112 million Swiss francs in 2021. LVMH does not disclose sales for its individual watch brands, which also include Tag Heuer and Hublot.

The world’s largest luxury-goods company reports earnings after the close in Paris today.