LVMH Digital Watch Week 2022 came around again this year unveiling some of its latest creations by the LVMH Maisons.
The spotlight is back on the Zenith DEFY collection. At the forefront is the new DEFY Skyline, a collection that builds upon the legacy of robustness and performance that has defined the line since the earliest Zenith “Defi” pocket watches of the early 20th century right through to its most recent references. Reinterpreting elements from the 1969 DEFY A3642 in a contemporary context and packed with the performance of the Manufacture’s latest generation of the El Primero movement, the DEFY Skyline is set to become a staple model for Zenith. The Maison also unveiled the new DEFY 21 Chroma, DEFY Extreme, DEFY Midnight Sunset and DEFY Midnight Borealis.
DEFY 21 Chroma
Light, colour and speed: A brightly chromatic expression of the high frequency chronograph in the DEFY 21 Chroma.
Through Zenith’s most innovative and forward-thinking line – the DEFY collection, the Manufacture has developed a unique expertise when it comes to colours where least expected. Whether its dazzling gem-set pieces, its DEFY 21 Ultra series of highly chromatic movements or even artistic collaborations, the imagination is the only limit when translating high-frequency chronometry into frequencies of light and colour. With the new DEFY 21 Chroma, the Manufacture is once again expressing this notion in its purest and brightest form yet.
Since white isn’t a colour itself, but a combination of all the colours in the visible light range, it was only natural to craft the DEFY 21 Chroma’s case in white ceramic with an all-over matte finish to provide a perfect contrast and further accentuate the colours within. The sapphire crystal gives way to a refracted rainbow spread evenly across the open dial and movement, with a perfectly transitioning gradient of colours spanning the entire colour spectrum, starting with red at 12 o’clock then shifting through orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and pink in a clockwise manner. The meticulously applied colours on the markers and 1/100 of a second scale extend beyond the dial and out of the case, with the crown’s rubber grip ring as well as the white cordura-effect rubber strap’s stitching following the colour arrangement of the dial. This also extends to the chronograph counter hands, each tipped in a different tone.
Vastly open and allowing a view into the ingenious 1/100th of a second chronograph movement beneath, the dial features raised white chronograph counters matching the case, beneath which the extraordinarily decorated movement shines through. Each bridge is finished in a different metallic colour, again following the gradient of the dial’s markers.
Visible through the sapphire case back, one can admire the singular El Primero 21 automatic high- frequency 1/100th of a second chronograph that’s at the peak of performance and precision, featuring two independent regulating organs and gear trains for the timekeeping and chronograph functions, operating at frequencies of 5Hz (36’000 VpH) and 50Hz (360’000 VpH), respectively.
Limited to 200 pieces, the DEFY 21 Chroma demonstrates the Manufacture’s mastery of the high-frequency automatic 1/100th of a second chronograph, while adding an unprecedented and playfully vibrant palette of colours where least expected for a high-performance chronograph with truly no equal.
Extreme performance on and off the track: Zenith presents the first DEFY Extreme model in carbon fibre.
After taking on wild terrains and exploring the raw and elemental side of nature, Zenith is giving the DEFY Extreme a decidedly sporty execution with the first watch in carbon fibre, dedicated to the motorsport of the future.
Built to withstand the elements and equipped with the world’s fastest and most precise automatic chronograph movement, the DEFY Extreme is the embodiment of the Manufacture’s spirit of innovation and emphasizes the DEFY line’s core attributes of ruggedness and exceptional performance. Introduced in 2021 as the boldest and most rugged iteration of Zenith’s groundbreaking 1/100th of a second automatic high-frequency chronograph to date, the DEFY Extreme has already proven that it’s more than capable of withstanding even the harshest elements during the first season of EXTREME E. Now, the DEFY Extreme arrives in a resolutely sporty carbon fibre execution inspired by the world’s first off-road electric rally racing championship, of which Zenith is proud to be the Official Timekeeper and Founding Partner.
Visually striking and astonishingly light, the case as well as the pushers and crown are made of highly durable layered carbon fibre. Commonly used in the automotive and aviation industries among many others, carbon fibre offers a unique set of performance properties that simply cannot be matched by metals. It also offers an unmistakable aesthetic that’s synonymous with cutting-edge. Highlighting the audaciously angular geometry of the case, the pusher protectors as well as the twelve-sided bezel are made in microblasted titanium.
Within the monolithic case, the open multi-layered dial features a mix of racy colours inspired by the EXTREME E’s “X Prix” colour schemes adapted for each race. The 1/100th of a second chronograph scale features bright yellow markers, while the tinted sapphire crystal dial’s chronograph counters are in bright blue, green and white, with matching-coloured small hands. Partially visible through the dial as well as the case back is the fastest automatic high-frequency chronograph calibre, offering 1/100th of a second time measurements, with two escapements beating at 5Hz (36’000 VpH) for the timekeeping part and 50Hz (360’000 VpH) for the chronograph.
The DEFY Extreme is delivered with three straps that are easily interchangeable without requiring any tools, simply by using the case back’s ingenious and intuitive quick strap-change mechanism. These are a black textured rubber strap with a microblasted titanium folding buckle, a red textured rubber strap and a black Velcro strap with a carbon fibre buckle.
Zenith looks forward to embarking on the second thrilling season of EXTREME E that promises to be even more spectacular, starting with the DESERT X Prix in Saudi Arabia in February 2022 and for the occasion, special editions of this watch will be developed for each of the upcoming EXTREME E races.
DEFY Midnight Sunset & DEFY Midnight Borealis
From Sunsets to Northern lights, Zenith adds two evocative models to the DEFY Midnight line.
Zenith’s first DEFY collection tailored exclusively for women, the DEFY Midnight was launched in 2020 to the delight of those who seek contemporary and confident femininity in watchmaking. Uniquely positioned as a versatile sporty-chic timepiece with a distinctly cosmic design, the DEFY Midnight was conceived with free-spirited, dream-chasing women in mind. As highlighted in the ZENITH DREAMHERS platform, where outspoken and accomplished women share their experiences and encourage others to go out there and fulfil their ambitions, the DEFY Midnight is a versatile companion for the independent women of today. Now, the collection welcomes two new additions inspired by a central element in Zenith lore – the starry night sky – and some of its ephemeral yet endlessly captivating phenomenon: the DEFY Midnight Sunset and DEFY Midnight Borealis.
Housed in a 36mm stainless steel case embellished with brilliant cut white diamonds on the bezel, these two vibrant versions reinterpret traditional craftsmanship in new and unprecedented form. Endowed with guilloché engraved dials with a radiant wave pattern, like rays of light emanating from the sole applied star near the top of the dial, the dials offer a fresh take on the ancestral artform in an unexpected and visually striking manner.
In the DEFY Midnight Sunset, the dial seamlessly transitions from warm red to a deep yellow tone in a perfect gradient of colours that recalls the brief but breathtaking sky as the sun casts its last rays of light before giving way to night.
As its name implies, The DEFY Midnight Borealis evokes the aurora borealis or northern lights phenomenon witnessed around the arctic circle, featuring a midnight blue dial that gradually shifts to a bright emerald green towards to bottom. In both models, white diamonds are applied on every hour marker, except at 3 o’clock where the date window is placed.
Visible through the sapphire case back, the DEFY Midnight is equipped with the automatic Elite 670 automatic manufacture calibre, providing a power reserve of 50 hours. A star-shaped oscillating mass adds a celestial touch to the movement.
One of the features that makes the DEFY Midnight so versatile and easily adaptable to any situation and outfit is its quick strap-change mechanism, allowing the integrated stainless steel bracelet to be easily swapped with any of the three supplied leather, textile and rubber straps without requiring any tools. The DEFY Midnight is delivered in a special box that doubles as a storage case for precious items and includes three additional coloured straps and an interchangeable folding buckle.
And now, in partnership with Nona Source, a start-up incubated by LVMH, Zenith is introducing a new line of sustainably made straps with a high-fashion edge, using deadstock fabrics from the group’s most prestigious Fashion & Leather Goods Maisons that are upcycled and transformed into lavish straps in a wide array of textiles and colours.
The DEFY Midnight Sunset & Borealis are compelling additions to the ultra-modern and confidently feminine collection of watches for women seeking something visually outstanding yet easily wearable.
Follow your light to reach your star: Zenith unveils the latest addition to its futuristic DEFY collection, the DEFY Skyline.
Since the earliest days of the DEFY collection, Zenith has sought to make its mark with sturdy and singularly designed timekeepers that would accompany their wearers throughout whatever life journey they chose to embark on. The story began in 1902 with the original “DEFI” line of rugged and precise pocket-watches, which later inspired Zenith to keep the same audacious spirit alive in a line of wristwatches in 1969 named DEFY. It exuded an affirmed and resolutely modern aesthetic that complemented its hardy construction and reliable performance, earning it the nickname of coffre-fort, French for vault of safe. Today, in an ever-fast-moving world where every fraction of a second can be a decisive one, the latest creation in the DEFY line is up to the pace with a sleek and evocative design paired with an unprecedented function.
Recalling the seemingly still night sky above a bustling city that never sleeps, the DEFY Skyline is dedicated to those who follow their light and forge their own path on their journey towards their star. At once geometrically structured and whimsically celestial, the star-studded dial with a sunburst finish is embellished with a perfectly aligned pattern consisting of engraved four-pointed stars, which are in fact a modern reimagining of the Zenith “double Z” logo of the 1960s. A central element in Zenith’s story that can be traced back to the very beginning, the night sky was a major source of inspiration for the Manufacture’s visionary founder Georges-Favre Jacot, who fulfilled his dream of creating the most precise watch of the time and decided to name his manufacture after the highest point in the night sky. The unique alchemy of coloured metallic dials and the shimmery spectacle of light from the engraved motif adds a subtle but distinctive layer of depth and intrigue and transports the wearer to experience a different notion of time.
Audaciously bold in its silhouette yet inherently familiar within Zenith’s repertoire, the DEFY Skyline draws inspiration from the unique octagonal geometry of the early DEFY models including the recently revived Defy A3642 without attempting to merely recreate the past. Outstanding in its angular form, the DEFY Skyline retains the same DNA of robustness and durability as its predecessors while bringing an edgier and more architectural aesthetic, as well as a host of new functions to the metropolis-ready companion. Fixed atop the 41mm stainless steel case with sharply defined edges, the faceted bezel is similar to those from early DEFY models, reimagined with twelve sides that are positioned to echo the hour markers. With an emphasis on performance in the largest possible range of activities and situations, the screw-down crown emblazoned with the star emblem provides a water-resistance of 10 ATM (100 metres).
Besides the central hour and minute hands and a date window at 3 o’clock finished in the same colour as the dial, the DEFY Skyline brings something new to the table that’s as much a demonstration of technical prowess as it is a visually captivating animation rarely ever seen on a wristwatch. On the small counter at 9 o’clock, a constantly running 1/10th of a second hand makes steady jumps in fixed increments, completing one revolution every 10 seconds and reminding the wearer of the fleeting nature of time and the precision of the 5Hz movement within. With the DEFY Skyline’s cosmic inspiration, it should come as no surprise that such fractional time-measuring functions requiring the highest levels of precision were once used to calculate the movement of celestial bodies and sidereal time.
This exceptional performance is delivered by the new El Primero 3620. Built with a similar architecture as the El Primero 3600 1/10th of a second chronograph, this automatic manufacture movement visible through the sapphire display back drives the 1/10th of a second hand directly from the escapement, which beats at 5Hz (36’000 VpH), thus making it a “natural” fraction-of-a-second indication. It is also endowed with a stop-second mechanism for precise time-setting. Efficient in its performance, the automatic winding mechanism with bi- directional rotor with a star motif delivers a power reserve of approximately 60 hours. Keeping with the purely contemporary palette of the DEFY Skyline the movement is finished in tones of grey and silver with elements in blued metal.
Following your light and reaching for your star requires versatility and adaptability. As such, the DEFY Skyline is delivered on a steel bracelet with a satin-brushed surface with chamfered and polished edges, seamlessly following the contours of the faceted case. A rubber strap with a starry sky pattern in continuity with the dial made in blue for the blue dial, black for the black dial and olive-green for the silver dial is also provided with a steel folding clasp and can be easily swapped without any tools using the DEFY case’s ingenious quick strap- change mechanism consisting of secure buttons on the back.
The DEFY Skyline collection completes the Manufacture’s line of futuristic watchmaking with a piece that exudes stylish versatility combined with exceptional performance and an unmistakably Zenith flare.
The Zenith DEFY collection are available at Cortina Watch boutiques. Locate your nearest boutique to discover more Zenith timepieces.