ZENO-WATCH BASEL is an independent Swiss watch manufacturing and specialized in producing mechanical timekeepers, pilot and oversized wrist watches, with headquarters in Basel, Switzerland and independent affiliates in Europe and Japan. Zeno was founded by Jules Godat in 1868. In 1922, ZENO was registered as an independent brand.
It all began in an idyllic house in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where Jules Godat set up a modest workshop. Like many watchmakers in those days, he spent the cold winter months as a seasonal worker. In 1868, he set up his own business and by doing so laid the foundation for ZENO watch production as we know it today. In his workshop, he made silver pocket watches. When Jules Godat left, the workshop was expanded to manufacture railway clocks and watches. In 1900 the workshop was further enlarged and equipped with electric power to drive the machines.
In 1920, André-Charles Eigeldinger took over the 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 produce high quality timekeeping instruments with a good cost-benefit ratio. Since 1922, the watchmakers at ZENO have been making individual pieces with a distinctive character and timeless beauty.
Demand for wristwatches rose constantly and between the Great Wars production was 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, ZENO engineers developed a number of digital watch models with jumping hours, pendant watches for nurses and watches for boys. In 1960 production was temporarily moved to the Atteslander workshops in Biel where the first mechanical pilot watches were developed, returning to Basel in 1965.
When the company was taken over by the Huber family, the assembly of wristwatches and the service department were transferred to Basel, on the river Rhine. The very first Basel creations included the first vacuum diver’s watch, the “Compressor”, which was launched in 1969 at the Watch and Jewellery Fair. In addition to in-house manufacturing, the Huber family took over commercial representation for the whole of Switzerland.
As in the case of the manufacture of the first watches back in 1868, ZENO-WATCH BASEL still takes great care in the manufacture of high quality measuring instruments with their distinctive character and timeless elegance.
Many new innovative watch creations are developed every year and often manufactured in extremely small series based on the historical original models. These are mechanical precision time measuring instruments which combine traditional workmanship, technology and design at the very highest level.
As it was not easy to find sufficient qualified personnel in the Basel region, cooperation with other watch making workshops was sought at an early stage. ZENO pocket watches have been produced in the sunny Ticino canton since 1975 where the dials are also printed. Fashionable quartz watches are made in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Neuchâtel (Switzerland).
Today, ZENO-WATCH BASEL is an independent Swiss family business. As a watch designer, Felix W. Huber has been the driving force behind the success of this Basel-based family business for over 40 years.