Watches bearing the ZEPPELIN brand name are a product of POINTtec electronic GmbH, with registered office in Ismaning near Munich. POINTtec was founded in 1987 and in 1996 it acquired the name rights to ZEPPELIN for the manufacture and distribution of watches.
All ZEPPELIN watches are “Made in Germany” and are developed and designed by highly qualified specialists. POINTtec uses first-class suppliers who also supply makers of luxury watches with parts and components. The key principle of the founder and owner of POINTtec, Willi Birk, is to offer customers, high-quality watches at the best possible price/performance ratio. In the lower price segment POINTtec generally uses quartz movements from renowned manufacturers such as ETA or Ronda.
The middle and upper price segments are complemented by high quality mechanical models containing movements from manufacturers such as ETA, Sellita, Citizen/Miyota or SII. As well as the ZEPPELIN trademark POINTtec also holds the trademark rights to its own brands IRON ANNIE and Maximilian München. Together with Rosenthal, the uncontested porcelain specialist, POINTtec has developed a series of elegant ladies’ watches with dials made from genuine Rosenthal porcelain. POINTtec is one of the largest watch manufacturers in Germany.
History of Zeppelin Airships
A Zeppelin is a type of rigid airship named after the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin who pioneered rigid airship development at the beginning of the 20th century.
Ferdinand Zeppelin was born on 8 July 1838 in Germany on Dominican Island in Lake Constance to the former minister (Hofmarschall) and cotton manufacturer Count Friedrich Jerôme Wilhelm Karl von Zeppelin and his wife Amélie Françoise Pauline.
As a 17-year old he entered the Royal Army College in Ludwigsburg as a cadet. In 1858 he was made a lieutenant in the Württemberg army and in the same year he was released from the army to follow a course of study in political sciences, engineering and chemistry in Tübingen.
In 1863 Ferdinand Zeppelin travelled to North America where he was granted an audience with the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Once he had received his identification papers authorising him for a longer stay, he was given the rare opportunity to take part in a hot-air balloon flight, which was indeed a novelty in those days.
The experience was an epiphany for Zeppelin. “Whilst I was hovering over St. Paul, I first had the idea of a “Zeppelin”, as a kind of manoeuvrable balloon,” he noted later in his diary.
In November 1864 he returned to Württemberg. In 1887, 24 years after this momentous balloon flight, and when he was the Württemberg envoy in the capital city, Berlin, Zeppelin wrote a memorandum on the “Necessity for a dirigible balloon”. There was one thing that he was certain of: it had to be possible to steer the aircraft of the future.
In 1891 he took part in another balloon flight, this time in Switzerland. After this latest experience he devoted himself to the construction of a rigid airship, but initially without success, as the financing for it failed.
After enormous effort and with the active support of the Association of German Engineers, he successfully managed to raise the necessary starting capital for the construction of his first airship. On 13 August 1898, Zeppelin was awarded imperial patent number 98580 for a “Dirigible airship with several carriages attached behind.”
And now began the realisation phase for the first airship. The main characteristics of Zeppelin’s construction were the rigid frame made of aluminium, which was constructed out of rings and longitudinal beams, the fixed connection of both the gondolas with the frame, the division of the gas chamber into equally sized cylindrical cells and the mounting of propellers for propulsion and maneuverability.
In 1900, the first Zeppelin, LZ1 flew three times above Lake Constance. Each time it performed considerably better, which fired the general public’s enthusiasm for the project and encouraged sponsors to support Ferdinand Zeppelin in further developing the technology.
But it was his so-called “LZ4” airship that took him the greatest step forward. At the beginning of July 1908, the inventor steered the airship on a 12-hour flight of almost 400 kilometres across Switzerland. People were both fascinated and enthusiastic.
However, the financial situation remained strained. The breakthrough came with the national sponsorship campaign, “The German people support Zeppelin sponsorship”, which raised more than six million marks. Equipped with these funds,Ferdinand Zeppelin was finally able to set up Luftschiffbau Zeppelin Ltd. and the Zeppelin Foundation.
With overflowing coffers the construction of the next Zeppelin generation progressed rapidly. The aircraft were employed in civil aviation from 1909. Airship LZ7, which was named “Deutschland” entered into service in 1910, was able to take passengers in a passenger cabin.
Also in 1910 Count Zeppelin acquired a 25 hectare site in Potsdam. In 1912 the largest airship hangar in Germany was built there.
By 1914 the company, Deutsche Luftschifffahrts AG that had been founded by CountZeppelin, had transported almost 35,000 people on more than 1,500 trips. Between 1900 and 1914 a total of 25 Zeppelins were built.
Count Zeppelin died on 8 March 1917 in Berlin. Upon his death Hugo Eckener took over leadership and management of the company.
In August 1919, following the end of the First World War, the production of Zeppelins was resumed. The first airship of the post-war period was the LZ120, the “Bodensee”. The 121 m long airship with a highest speed of 132 km/h, thus the fastest airship so far, was powered by four Maybach engines, each with 241 hp. In the same year it transported almost 2,400 passengers, mostly on scheduled services, between Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance and Berlin. In the following winter it was lengthened by 10 metres.
Its sister ship LZ121, called “Nordstern”, was intended primarily for scheduled services to Stockholm.
The LZ120, from which the new watch series LZ120 Rome (Baselworld 2017) gets its name, was later shipped to Italy and stationed in Ciampino near Rome.
The difficult era for airships was given new impetus by an order from the USA. The “Amerikaluftschiff” as the Zeppelin LZ126 was called, completed its first test flight on 27 August 1924. The LZ126 was 200 m long, had a volume of around 70,000 m³ and was powered by five Maybach petrol engines with 400 hp each.
Hugo Eckener, the boss of Zeppelin Ltd., who had enormous faith in the new airship, was in command personally as it flew from Friedrichshafen to Lakehurst near New York on 12 October 1924. The 81-hour flight over the Atlantic went smoothly and without problems. In the US the newcomer was welcomed by jubilant crowds of people, and Calvin Coolidge, who was president at the time, invited Hugo Eckener and his team to the White House, where he hailed the new Zeppelin as an “angel of peace”.
With its new name, the “USS Los Angeles”, LZ126 was the most successful American airship ever. The Zeppelin reliably carried out its duties for eight years, longer than all other US rigid airships. The Zeppelin watch series LZ126 Los Angeles, which is designed in a classic pilot style, is dedicated to this airship.
On 18 September 1928, the LZ127 “Graf Zeppelin” took to the skies for the first time. This ship, which became the most successful airship ever, marked the zenith of travel by Zeppelin airships. With a length of 236 m long and a lifting gas volume of up to 105,000 m³, its engines could be powered both by gas and petrol.
Hugo Eckener first used the new ship for spectacular demonstration flights, amongst other destinations to America, where in October 1928 he was once again welcomed with ticker tape and cheering crowds.
In August 1929 the “Graf Zeppelin”, sponsored by the American media magnate William Randolph Hearst amongst others, was the first and to date the only airship to circumnavigate the globe. In 1931 the LZ127 carried out a German/Russian journey to the Arctic, which was funded by the multi-millionaire Lincoln Ellsworth, the Russian government and 50,000 items of souvenir mail franked with special stamps.
From 1930 transatlantic scheduled services were introduced. Although the Great Depression was beginning to make itself felt and there was growing competition from aeroplanes, “Graf Zeppelin” transported increasing numbers of passengers between Europe and North and South America until 1936.
The watches in the Zeppelin Classic series, with the typical Zeppelin ring etched into the casing, are a homage to this successful airship.
Hugo Eckener was planning to support this reliable airship, which was in constant service, with a Zeppelin of a similar design. At the same time there were plans to replace the highly flammable hydrogen gas with non-flammable helium gas, which would make a new design necessary.
Therefore the originally planned LZ128 project was abandoned.
On 4 March 1936 the new Zeppelin LZ129 “Hindenburg” was finally completed and carried out its first test flight. The LZ129 “Hindenburg” was shortly afterwards moved to the transatlantic route to support LZ127, the “Graf Zeppelin”. Although it had originally been intended to use helium gas instead of hydrogen for the LZ129, the company management decided against this change due to procurement problems.
With a length of 245 metres, a diameter of 41.2 metres and a volume of 200,000 m³ it was the largest airship ever built. Powered by four Maybach diesel motors with a combined power of 4,200 hp, the airship could reach speeds of 131 km/h and cover distances of 12,000 km.
The airship glided through the skies almost silently and gave passengers a breathtaking view of the earth below. The luxurious accommodation that included dining room, reading and sitting room and bedrooms, was the most comfortable and elegant way to travel at the time.
The Zeppelin watches in the Hindenburg series, which are dedicated to this unique airship, reflect the style of this former era in the elegance of both the men’s and the ladies’ models.
The recurrent problems with the flammability of the hydrogen gas and the lack of availability of helium gas finally rang the death knell for German travel by airship.
The next model, the LZ130, was used only for some test flights and LZ131 was not even completed.
Between 1900 and 1938 ZEPPELIN Ltd. have built more than 100 airships in 27 different designs. The vast distances that they could cover could still not be matched by their competitor, the aeroplane. After LZ130 the construction of Zeppelin airships came more or less to a halt and the Zeppelin factories concentrated on other areas of engineering.
In September 1993 Zeppelin LuftschifftechnikLtd. (ZLT) in Friedrichshafen was founded as a subsidiary of Zeppelin and entered once again into the field of constructing airships.
Zeppelin NT (new technology) took to the skies for the first time in September 1997. With a length of 75 metres and a hull volume of 8225 m³ the new Zeppelins are 10 to 20 times smaller than their massive predecessors. Also, they are not Zeppelins in the traditional sense, but cutting-edge semi-rigid airships that are characterised by state-of-the-art aviation technology.
8 March 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Count Zeppelin. The new Zeppelin NT took to the skies in his honour and flown from Friedrichshafen to Stuttgart.
The Zeppelin Company is sponsored by the Zeppelin Foundation. The company organises its group-wide collaboration through a holding company and six strategic units. Zeppelin Ltd. is the group’s management holding company. The company’s registered office is in Friedrichshafen and its administrative centre is in Garching near Munich.
The Zeppelin Foundation has a holding in Zeppelin Ltd through Luftschiffbau Zeppelin Ltd. Every year the company donates part of its earnings to the Zeppelin Foundation in Friedrichshafen. These funds are used exclusively for charitable and social purposes. The Zeppelin Foundation is managed by the City of Friedrichshafen.
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