The Right Watchman for about 10 years Thierry Nataf, CEO of Zenith, bestrode the timepiece 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 characteristics were animated by a lively cleverness, 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 replica watch boss, living high, living huge, living the brand, living the fantasy. The benefit of fantasies is, needless to say, 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. Aside from that he previously put Zenith back in the spotlight. Regardless of whether one established with his style or not and visibly new business manager LVMH had a different vision for the brand at least Zenith had been mentioned. But he previously had furthermore taken controversial decisions, for example ceasing supply of El Primero movements to Rolex and raising prices quickly.