An interview with Benoit de Clerck, CEO of Zenith

Koktail Magazine

27 Jun 2024

Check out our interview with Zenith, the Swiss luxury watches brand for men and women, where CEO Benoit de Clerck discusses sustainability in luxury watchmaking, including his favourite practices, customer feedback, and eco-friendly innovations.

Koktail had the privilege of interviewing Benoit de Clerck, CEO of Zenith, to delve into the brand’s commitment to sustainability, explore his favourite sustainable practices, understand customer reactions, and discuss the integration of eco-friendly innovations and daily decision-making in the world of luxury watchmaking.



Sustainability in Watchmaking

What inspired ZENITH to embrace sustainability, and how do  you see this influencing the future of luxury watchmaking?

ZENITH has been a sustainable watch manufacturer since 1865 and we stand by our quality  stating that all our watches will last longer than a lifetime. Since then, we’ve manufactured 100% of our movements, and we store and preserve millions of  spare parts which allow us to restore and certify any timepiece. In 2023, we repaired 13,000  pieces! In addition, our ZENITH Icons program, which is a curated collection of rare and highly  sought-after vintage watches, are sourced, restored, and certified at the Manufacture to give  them a new life.  At Zenith, sustainability is a true 360 mindset, and we are all eager to reduce our carbon  footprint. We are always working to improve our processes towards this direction. 



Personal Favourites

Can you share one or two sustainable practices at ZENITH that you're  particularly proud of?

It's so difficult to choose! Over the past few years, we’ve really worked hard to put many  initiatives in place. When I joined, I was really impressed by the solar panels on the roof of our  Manufacture, which covers approximately 20% of the entire building’s energy consumption. The  remaining 80% of our energy used is purchased from the city of Le Locle and is considered green  energy – 90% of it is hydraulic energy & 10% waste valorization.  I also love the partnership we have with Nona Source, a start up within the LVMH family that  provides deadstock fabrics from many luxury Maisons. Through this collaboration, we are able to  make beautiful, qualitative, and sustainable gifts for our clients and partners like pouches or tote  bags.  Last but not least- leaving a little teaser for the end- I love the sustainable updates on our watch  boxes coming soon in 2025, stay tuned!



Consumer Trends

How have ZENITH’s customers responded to the brand's sustainability  efforts? Any particular feedback that stands out?

Very positively! We love receiving good feedback from our clients and community about our  sustainability efforts. I have one great story to share about this:  

During Watches and Wonders, we noticed one of our best clients was wearing a beautiful jacket  by a well-known luxury fashion brand. As we gifted her a pouch made from upcycled Nona  Source fabrics, she realized it was the exact same as her jacket’s! She was so excited about the  pouch and now cherishes this pouch & the great meaning behind it.



Daily Decisions

As a leader, how do you integrate sustainability into your daily decision making at ZENITH?

Both my team and myself prioritize sustainability greatly, and we all agree to undertake this as a  main target and integrate it into all our strategic decisions. We are always seeking for a better  way to improve our processes and actions to reduce our impact on the environment. 



Eco-friendly Innovations

What are some exciting eco-friendly innovations that ZENITH is  exploring or has already implemented?

The whole team at Zenith has a great entrepreneurial mindset, and always have great ideas  around sustainability to implement! For instance, at the Manufacture, we have access to an  underground water source, and the team decided to install a way to collect the water and reuse  it for our internal needs. As a result, we’ve saved 34 CBM of water! We are always exploring new  innovations like these, for our packaging, boutiques, etc. So, stay tuned for more news on what’s  to come!