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Watches & Wonders 2023: Zenith Defy Collection

Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton 49.9300 Cortina Watch Feature Image

Defy Revival Shadow

ZENITH presents the defy revival shadow, giving the original defy silhouette an unexpectedly modern makeover

For its latest addition to the DEFY Revival collection, ZENITH imagines an alternate possibility for the very first DEFY silhouette from 1969 in a decidedly modern and stealthy rendition. While there is some historical precedent for blacked-out ZENITH watches, which the manufacture produced in very small numbers as working prototypes as far as back as 1970, the DEFY Revival Shadow is a modern creation in a vintage silhouette. In the same vein as the Chronomaster Revival Shadow that precedes it, the DEFY Revival Shadow creatively blends the historic model’s heritage with a contemporary accent through dark tones and muted textures.

Zenith Defy Revival Shadow 97.a3642.670.21 Cortina Watch Chain

Beginning with the A3642 in 1969, the DEFY’s signature angular steel case stood out with its brightly polished and satin-brushed surfaces. The DEFY Revival Shadow however takes on a decidedly muted and monolithic look.

Crafted in titanium, a metal lauded for its light weight yet impressive durability and resistance to corrosion, the highly angular DEFY Revival case with its fourteen-sided bezel is entirely microblasted for a matte finish, revealing the dark grey tone of titanium and enhancing the geometry of the singular and instantly recognizable case.

For a design that dates back to 1969, such a modern choice of tones and textures further emphasizes just how ahead of its time ZENITH was with the DEFY line. In fact, the silhouette remains utterly contemporary and literally edgy decades later.

A first for ZENITH and its iconic “ladder” bracelet, which was originally conceived by the famed Gay Frères company exclusively for the brand in 1969, the links and clasp are crafted in titanium, and finished with the same matte texture as the case. The light weight of titanium further enhances the comfort and ergonomics of this time-tested bracelet. It is fitted on an updated folding clasp with a more ergonomic and streamlined feel.

Almost paradoxical, considering that the original DEFY line of wristwatches prominently featured vibrant dial colours and striking gradient effects, the DEFY Revival Shadow’s dial is matte black with a distinctly vintage look. The hands, filled with a cream-coloured Super-LumiNova pigment, as well as the applied square hour markers with horizontal grooves are polished and finished in rhodium for optimum legibility.

Zenith Defy Revival Shadow 97.a3642.670.21 Cortina Watch Closeup

Visible through the sapphire display back, which does not compromise the case’s impressive water-resistance of 30ATM (300 metres), the automatic Elite 670 manufacture movement operates at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 VpH) with a power reserve of 50 hours.

The DEFY Revival Shadow demonstrates how the historical DEFY’s uncanny form was so singular and far ahead of its time; just as relevant today as it was in 1969.

The DEFY Revival Shadow is available from ZENITH physical and online boutiques as well as authorized retailers around the world.

Defy Skyline Ceramic

Bolder In Black: The Defy Skyline & Defy Skyline Skeleton Now In Black Ceramic

Clad entirely in black ceramic, the DEFY Skyline and DEFY Skyline Skeleton take on a distinct aura of their own. At once brilliant, bold and sleek, the collection’s modernistic form takes on a decidedly dark look that’s as visually outstanding as it is resilient.

Introduced in 2022 as the modern successor to the ZENITH DEFY line of rugged and boldly designed wristwatches from 1969, the DEFY Skyline collection builds on its legacy with the same singular edginess and a new level of performance from the Manufacture’s latest generation of the seminal El Primero high-frequency calibre. The collection’s two main pillars – the DEFY Skyline and DEFY Skyline Skeleton – now take on alluring blacked-out look with two new references crafted entirely in black ceramic – including the bracelet.

Zenith Defy Skyline 49.9300.3620 Cortina Watch Side

Much harder than traditional metals and alloys like stainless steel, ceramic boasts many properties that make it a compelling choice for all-situations watches like the DEFY Skyline and DEFY Skyline Skeleton. Its extreme hardness, which requires diamond-tipped tools to cut the sharp lines of the DEFY Skyline and decorate it with a mix of satin-brushed and polished surfaces, makes ceramic highly resistant to scratches and visible wear.

Unlike blackened metal elements which are simply plated, the ceramic itself is black and will never wear off. Even the integrated bracelet that follows the contours of the case is crafted in black ceramic. A black patterned rubber strap with a blackened steel folding clasp is also included, and swapping between it and the ceramic bracelet is effortless using the quick strap-change mechanism integrated directly in the case back.

The DEFY Skyline Ceramic features a black galvanic dial with a sunray finish, shimmering as the light hits its surface. The entire dial features a geometric pattern, consisting of the ZENITH four-pointed stars that historically featured prominently on the case backs of vintage DEFY references as a “double Z”. Evoking the starry night sky, the blackened star-shaped sunken into the dial feature sharp inward facets, with different angles catching light.

Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton 49.9300 Cortina Watch Frontal Shot

For the DEFY Skyline Skeleton Ceramic, the open dial features a blackened large central four-pointed star element, revealing the skeleton movement with black bridges and main plate. An exceptional feat, the Manufacture’s engineers successfully incorporated the shape of the open dial into the skeletonisation of the movement’s bridges and main plate, forming an integral whole. With its subtle contrast of dark tones, the visual depth further enhanced in this unique skeleton watch with a 1/10th of a second indicator.

Both the DEFY Skyline Ceramic and DEFY Skyline Skeleton Ceramic feature faceted polished hands and applied indices filled with white Super-LumiNova for effortless readability – day and night.

Both references are powered by the El Primero 3620 automatic high-frequency manufacture movement, beating at the rate of 5Hz (36’000VpH), providing a 1/10th of a second indicator directly driven by the escapement. Its efficient automatic bi-directional winding mechanism with a blackened star-shaped rotor delivers a power reserve of approximately 60 hours.

With these two new references, the c welcomes a cutting-edge material that offers the singular silhouette an intriguingly dark facet to be discovered.

The DEFY Skyline and DEFY Skyline Skeleton are available from ZENITH physical and online boutiques, as well as authorized ZENITH retailers around the world.

Discover more from ZENITH’s Defy Collection at our boutiques, or online.