It all began in an idyllic house in La Chaux-de-Fonds, where Jules Godat set up a modest workshop. Like many watchmakers, he spent the cold winter months working as a watchmaker. In 1868, he set up his own business and so laid the foundation for Zeno watch production as we know it today. He made classical silver pocket watches. Once Jules Godat left the company, the production site was converted and the manufacturing of railway clocks and watches began. 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 manufacturing 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, for the first time Zeno took part 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”, until in 1960 production temporarily moved to the Atteslander workshops in Biel where the first mechanical airmen’s watches were developed.
Today the rapid pace of progress is bringing constant changes to our lives. Nevertheless, in Zeno’s watch workshops mechanical wrist and pocket watches are still being made using traditional techniques with the exceptional calm and concentration of experienced watchmakers. For over eighty years, ZENO watches have been produced largely by hand.