|The revived Zenith logo; old school retro cool|
In a remarkable comeback, the Zenith Motorcycle Co is being revived by an Anglo-Swiss-American triumverate, the first-ever collaboration of the Swiss watch maker of the same name (Zenith), an English-born financier, and an American designer. Zenith motorcycles (1903-49) is perhaps the most esteemed 'forgotten' brand to be picked up in the current mania for revival; in their heyday, Zeniths held the most 'Gold Stars' at the Brooklands race track (for laps over 100mph) and captured the World Land Speed Record twice.
|Zenith brand ambassador Dimitri Coste|
Zenith watch brand ambassador Dimitri Coste will remain the public face of the expanded Zenith lineup, and in a display of riding virtuosity at the press launch in Zurich today, he performed a double-backflip on an electric motorcycle between the wristwatch assembly bench and the pressure-testing tank inside the factory. For the press event, the normally white-coated watchmaking staff wore the new Zenith signature white-black-and-red check pattern leather jackets, designed by Dimitri's brother Jérome Coste.
|The Zenith heyday at the Brooklands race track|
|Designer/conceptual artist Ian Barry (c.MotoTintype)|
Knight's husband, custom motorcycle designer-turned conceptual artist Ian Barry (formerly of Falcon Motorcycles), will act as chief designer for Zenith. He declined to speak at the press announcement, but was later interviewed at Zurich's finest restaurant, El Tiempo Transparente. "I chose this restaurant as it relates to the idea behind the new motorcycle, that might not be a motorcycle like we've thought of in the past, as we're combining the watch-making expertise of the Swiss factory with new technology, using their ideas of transparency to see the mechanism, or the movement, and the passage of time, and the analogness of that, and the importance of the crystal, and maybe combining the crystal with the movement, because a motorcycle moves through space and time, so a motorcycle is a time machine and we're adding a crystal face to see through it, to see it happening, because motorcycles are happening."
|Ian Barry aboard a vintage supercharged Zenith, which may or may not be the inspiration for the new machine.|
When pressed on design details, Barry demurred, saying cryptically "you'll see it soon, but you won't be able to see it." Asked whether the power source would be petrochemical or electric, he said "Yes, that's correct." We eagerly await the outcome of this new venture!