2023 marks a year of change for the LVMH Watch Week, headed to Singapore and then New York instead of the wintry landscapes of Switzerland. The releases from Zenith at this year’s event will focus heavily on the Defy collection, featuring new twists on the famed El Primero movement, and a model with an icy cool disposition. Defined by a sporty design that has its roots in the late 60s, the Defy of today is a modern take on the sports watch that often include the brand’s most interesting movements combined with architectural lines.
Defy Skyline Skeleton
The new Defy Skyline Skeleton is defined by its angular lines on its case that play with different finishes that accentuate its architecture. The stainless steel case measures 41mm and is delivered on an integrated stainless steel bracelet with a quick strap-change mechanism that enables it to be switched over to a starry-sky patterned rubber strap and deployant clasp for additional comfort.
The main attraction for this piece is most certainly the dial. Essentially a part of the movement, the dial is openworked into a four-point star, much like the Zenith logo of the mid 20th century. The skeletonised dial reveals a skeletonised colour-matching movement mainplate, where the watch can be seen ticking away with its balance wheel visible at 10 o’clock. Completing the sporty look are the thick hands and markers filled with SuperLuminova for night time legibility.
Housed within the new Defy Skyline Skeleton is the Zenith Calibre 3620 SK. Built upon a similar architecture as the El Primero 3600, it shares a similar 1/10th second display, albeit it is placed at 6 o’clock for a small visual curiosity, as well as making the watch incredibly symmetrical. As an El Primero movement, it naturally beats at 10Hz, and has a power reserve of 60 hours. Like the dial, the bridges and rotor of the movement colour match the dial.
Available in blue or black dial variations, as well as a movement derived from a legend, the watch comes in two flavours that are certain to delight Zenith fans, and those searching for a great everyday wearer that is versatile and changeable to the wearer’s taste.
Defy Skyline Boutique Edition
Following the release and reception of the Defy Skyline collection of 2022, a boutique-only model has been unveiled at LVMH Watch Week 2023 in an interesting colour-way, as well as an updated movement that can trace its roots to the venerable El Primero.
The Defy Skyline Boutique Edition is encased in a 41mm stainless steel case in an angular design harking back to the original Defy models of 1969. The dial draws visual interest through its anthracite and rose gold colouring – with a repeating star motif that is reminiscent of a vintage Zenith logo. Giving the effect of a twinkling night sky, the dial is first engraved, then plated with rose gold. At 9 o’clock is a 10th of a second indicator, and at 3 o’clock is the date window. The sporty elements of the dial are tied together by hour markers and thick hands filled with SuperLuminova for visibility in low-light conditions.
This boutique exclusive model is powered by the Zenith Calibre 3620 that is visible through a sapphire crystal caseback. The movement incorporates a 5Hz running frequency which is seen through the 10th of a second indicator on the dial side – directly run off of the escapement. The movement also features a 60 hour power reserve, a length of time that is fast becoming standard for in-house movements that enables great convenience for the wearer.
The watch is delivered on an integrated stainless steel that can be quickly swapped out for a black rubber strap with a starry sky pattern. Available only through physical boutiques and Zenith’s online boutique, this is an interesting colour way that is also horologically compelling.
Defy Extreme Glacier
If the Defy Extreme is Zenith’s rugged adventurer’s chronograph, the Defy Extreme Glacier is a tribute to the environment – in 2023, a tribute to icy landscapes is built around this tough but technically excellent chronograph.
The most notable part of this watch are the components that protect the bezel and the pushers of the watch. These components are surrounded by chalcedony – a semi precious gemstone that has been meticulously cut and polished to become components of this rugged chronograph. With a mineral structure of silica, each chalcedony stone features a unique fibrous structure and unique colours, making each one of the 50 pieces unique.
Housed within the titanium and chalcedony case is the El Primero 9004, that measures 1/100th of a second with its chronograph complication, and is delivered on an integrated titanium bracelet as well as a white rubber strap with folding buckle and an additional velcro strap.
Conclusion In addition to a number of ladies Defy models in 36mm steel case and a myriad of dial colours and levels of gem setting, Zenith continues to iterate on a storied sports watch collection, one which clearly displays the future of watchmaking. The Defy collection continues to delight watch fans, continuously unveiling pieces that pique the interest of the most hardened watch enthusiasts.