Last year Zenith announced a new partnership with Aaron Rodgers, the highly decorated quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. News of such partnerships are hardly rare, and rarely compelling, and Zenith isn’t exactly known for their flashy celebrity connections. Likewise, Rodgers doesn’t have a history of endorsing luxury products the likes of which Zenith makes. Earlier this month I had the opportunity to sit down with both Julien Tornare (CEO of Zenith) and Aaron Rodgers to discuss the partnership, as well as Rodgers’ trip to Le Locle to visit the brand’s manufacturing facilities. All this after taking in a Packer game at Green Bay’s legendary Lambeau field. There was tailgating (kinda), cheeseheads, and plenty of Zenith watch spotting along the way.
Julien Tornare is a refreshingly approachable CEO, and at times, surprisingly frank. He’s quick with his words and has plenty to say on the nature of the industry as well as the growing base of enthusiasts, of whom he seems keenly aware. Tornare spent 17 years at Vacheron Constantin overseeing markets from the US to Asia-Pacific before accepting the role of CEO with Zenith watches in 2017. It’s easy to get the sense that he’s enjoying life on the other side, embracing the current state of the brand, eager about its future, attuned to its past. Zenith is a brand that’s proven adept at living on both sides of that coin, and both Julien and Romain Marietta (Product Development and Heritage Director, and former podcast guest) have deep reverence for that line.