It all began in an idyllic house in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where Jules Godat had set up a modest workshop. Like many watchmakers, his spent the cold winter months as a seasonal watchmaker. In 1868, he set up in business on his own and by doing so laid the foundation for ZENO watch production as we know it today. ,he made classical silver pocket watches. After Jules Godat had left, production was converted to the manufacture of railway clocks and watches. In 1900 the workshop was enlarged and equipped with electric power to drive the machines.
In 1920, André-Charles Eigeldinger took over Godat watch production. He specialized in the manufacture of observation watches for military purposes, slide rule watches and pocket watches in silver, gold and platinum. In 1922, Eigeldinger & Söhne registered the ZENO brand.
This name is a reminder of the Greek philosopher Zeno of Kition and means “gift of Zeus” or “god given”.
In the manufacture of ZENO watches, great care is taken to make high quality timekeeping instruments with a good cost-benefit ratio. Since 1922, the watchmakers at ZENO have been making individual pieces with a prominent personality, distinctive character and timeless beauty.
Demand for wristwatches rose constantly and in the inter-war years production was therefore converted to wristwatches. The first ZENO wristwatches were made of gold and intended solely for export. In 1937, to mark the 15th anniversary of the ZENO brand, the first watches with an integral stop function and acoustic telemeter were made. In 1949, ZENO took part for the first time in the Swiss watch fair in Basel. In the years that followed, the ZENO engineers developed a number of digital watch models with “jumping hours”, pendant watches for nurses and “watches for boys”, until in 1960 production temporarily moved to the Atteslander workshops in Biel where the first mechanical airmen’s watches were developed.
The rapid pace of progress is bringing constant changes to our lives. But in the ZENO watch work-shops, mechanical wrist and pocket watches are still being made by traditional techniques with the exceptional calm and concentration of experienced watchmakers. For over eighty years,
ZENO watches have been produced largely by hand.