The Right Watchman for about 10 years Thierry Nataf, CEO of Zenith, bestrode the wrist watch world like a black-suited, skinny-lapelled colossus: a showman, a rock star, an example of the watch executive as a one-man, stadium-filling, super group. He ran Zenith with the full-on pageantry of a major fashion house. Even his moments of repose were carefully choreographed; chin resting artfully on the hand in a pose that combined sultry good looks with a pensive mien and a peek at the Zenith at his wrist. His finely delineated qualities were animated by a lively thinking ability, his voice by turns purringly confidential and stridently confident, his conversation punctuated by his trademark observation that his heartbeat was at the same frequency as the 36,000vph El Primero movement.
He was the apotheosis of the pre-recession timepiece boss, living high, living big, living the brand, living the fantasy. The thing about ideas is, obviously, that one wakes up and one day in the summer of 2011 Thierry Nataf woke up to find that he had resigned from Zenith. The watch world is certainly less colourful without him. Likewise he had put Zenith back into the spotlight. Whether or not one agreed in reference to his style or even otherwise and easily new brand name owner LVMH had a different vision for the brand at least Zenith was being described. But he had also taken controversial judgements, such as ceasing method of getting El Primero movements to Rolex and raising prices radically.