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Zenith modernizes its Chronomaster Open collection with a new El Primero movement, a hesalite seconds counter and a smaller case diameter.

The newest Zenith Chronomaster Open.

Veteran collectors might remember the Chronomaster Open’s 2003 debut, which featured a larger case and a multi-aperture view into an earlier El Primero movement. The new watch, which is Zenith’s Watches and Wonders 2022 highlight, is lighter in several ways when compared to its forebears and the previous Chronomaster Open collection.

Now presented in a more wrist-friendly 39.5mm steel or rose gold case, the new Chronomaster Open revisits the well-known three-color Zenith Chronomaster layout but with several new elements added.

Here, Zenith retains the small seconds counter at 9 o’clock (which was absent in the original Chronomaster Open), remaking it with a clear hesalite crystal. The transparency of the crystal allows the viewer to see into purple silicon star-shaped escape wheel.

In addition, Zenith has altered the shape of the dial opening, adding circular openings with chamfered edges instead of the former version’s applied metallic frame with blued screws. The results expose the new El Primero 3604 in its more contemporary grey hue.

Zenith wisely based the new caliber on the recently debuted El Primero 3600 1/10th of a second automatic high-frequency caliber. The new design, which replaces the existing Chronomaster Open collection,  is a nice mid-way point between Zenith’s Chronomaster Sport and its vintage-tinged Chronomaster Original.

Zenith’s El Primero 3604, front view.

With its new diameter (current collection models are 42mm), cleaner dial and explicit 1/10th of a second display, the new Chronomaster Open hits all the updates required for a truly contemporary collection.

Price: $10,000 (steel on bracelet) and $21,300 (rose gold on strap).

 

Gold Chronomaster Sport

In addition, Zenith adds a gold edition of its very hot Chronomaster Sport, which has become a top seller for the brand since its introduction last year. Zenith now offers the Chronomaster Sport in rose gold (including the bracelet and engraved bezel with 1/10th of a second scale.)

Available with either a black or white dial with the signature El Primero three-color counters, golden hands and applied markers. Price: $38,200.

A boutique-only steel version sports a unique, three-color bezel (see below, $11,900).

Also look for a two-tone Chronomaster Sport  (below) in rose gold and steel ($17,000).

 

Zenith’s first round of 2022 debuts expands its Defy family, a series encompassing Zenith’s most eclectic designs. While the collection debuted more than fifty years ago, most current Defy models are decidedly contemporary, with the exception of the recently debuted Revival homage to the first Defy, the limited edition Defy “Bank Vault.”

We showed you the new Defy Skyline last week just as Zenith introduced it during LVMH Watch Week. While the Skyline was the brand’s highlight Defy debut, with a fully new design and mechanical display, Zenith also added extensions to several models in the Defy series. These debuts include the Defy 21 Chroma and the Defy Extreme Carbon (each with dual high-frequency escapements), and two new 36mm Defy Midnight watches with colorful dials and diamond-set bezels.

The new Zenith Defy 21 Chroma.

Defy 21 Chroma

The Defy 21 Chroma’s 44mm matte white ceramic case provides the perfect frame for a colorful show on and underneath its dial. Even the watch’s strap and crown contribute to the watch’s rainbow theme.

The color show starts around the dial where, starting with red at 12 o’clock, Zenith represents the full spectrum along the markers and on the 1/100-of-a-second scale. Under the dial Zenith constructs its movement with the same colors (in the same order) in a metallic sheen, with each highlighting a different movement component. Even the chronograph counter hands are tipped in colors.

The movement here is the Zenith’s 1/100th of a second chronograph movement, the El Primero 9004 automatic (aka, the El Primero 21), which features two independent regulators 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 is priced at $14,500.

Defy Extreme Carbon

The Zenith Defy Extreme Carbon.

Seen first last year, the Defy Extreme is Zenith’s most indestructible model. With this latest example, Zenith finally adds the Defy Extreme to its growing list of Defy models constructed using some form of carbon in either its case, bracelet, or both.

Here, Zenith builds the watch’s 45mm case using carbon fiber and microblasted titanium. This combination means the watch is both lightweight, extremely shock resistant––and visually striking.

The watch catches your eye in part because, despite its generally dark profile, Zenith displays hints of color on the dial. The livery is inspired by Extreme E, the world’s first off-road electric rally racing championship, which Zenith officially times as a Founding Partner.

Echoing the Defy 21 Chroma, this model also exposes its El Primero 21 automatic high-frequency chronograph caliber through the watch’s front and back. And like all Zenith El Primro 21-powered models, the Defy Extreme Carbon offers 1/100th-of-a-second time measurements with two high-frequency escapements.

Zenith will deliver its Defy Extreme Carbon with three straps, each interchangeable without requiring any tools. These are: a black textured rubber strap with a micro blasted titanium folding buckle, a red textured rubber strap and a black Velcro strap with a carbon fiber buckle.

Price: $25,100

Defy Midnight

In addition to the above debuts, Zenith adds two new Defy Midnight watches to this collection’s roster of automatic 36mm steel watches with starry dials and diamond-bezels. The new watches continue to enhance Zenith’s apparent focus on adding touches of color to the year’s wristwear.

While not rainbow-flecked like the larger Defy debuts noted above, each Defy Midnight debut references a colorful natural nightime phenomenon. Both feature a guilloché engraved dial with a pleasing radiant wave pattern.

One, the Defy Midnight Sunset, offers a dial that nicely transitions from warm red to deep yellow, a gradiant scheme meant to recall the evening’’s final rays of light.

The Defy Midnight Borealis, as its name implies, evokes the aurora borealis or northern lights phenomenon. Its midnight blue dial gradually shifts to emerald green towards to bottom. Zenith applies diamonds on every hour marker except at 3 o’clock, where we see the date window.

As seen through a sapphire case back, each Defy Midnight is powered with Zenith’s automatic Elite 670 caliber, which provides a power reserve of fifty hours. And, as with all Defy Midnight steel bracelet models, Zenith includes three additional straps made of leather, textile and rubber, all of which can be easily changed without requiring any tools.

Prices: $11,400 for either model.

Just days after revisiting its 1969 Defy by launching a limited edition revival Zenith Defy A3642, Zenith this week again references the sporty Defy collection with a new model called Defy Skyline.

The new Zenith Defy Skyline, also available in black or silver dial.

For the new Defy Skyline, Zenith starts with the original collection’s octagonal case and twelve-side faceted bezel. But then Zenith adds extra edginess with a larger case size (41mm) and a technical dial display close to Zenith’s heart: a constantly running 1/10-of-a-second indicator.   

Placed at the 9 o’clock position, the one-tenth-of-a-second hand makes steady jumps in fixed increments, rotating fully once every ten seconds. The display references Zenith’s trademark El Primero caliber, which beats at 5Hz (36,000 VpH) and directly powers the display’s seconds hand.

As the hand is connected directly to the escapement, Zenith refers to as a “natural” fraction-of-a-second indication. And to best utilize the 1/10-second display when setting the time, Zenith provides a stop-second mechanism built directly into the crown.

For the new Defy Skyline, Zenith developed the El Primero 3620, a new iteration of its El Primero 3600, which headlined the debut of the Zenith Chronomaster Sport last year. Zenith harnessed the El Primero 3600 to give that Chronomaster a rare 1/10-of-a-second timing scale linked to its central chronograph hand. For the Defy Skyline, the new caliber omits chronograph timing to simply power the unusual seconds display.

The new Zenith Defy Skyline is a fairly spare time-only watch (with date) interchangeable steel bracelet/rubber strap watch that offers contemporary styling with clear references to its Defy antecedents, especially with its embrace of that collection’s twelve-sided bezel.

Zenith is offering three debut star-patterned dials for the new collection in metallic blue, black or silver with (included) matching rubber straps. The color scheme carries into the movement itself as Zenith finishes the caliber in tones of grey and silver, with elements in blued metal.

Price $8,400

 

Specifications: Zenith Defy Skyline

Movement: El Primero 3620, automatic, silicon escape wheel and lever, frequency of 36,000 VpH (5 Hz) and power reserve of approx. 60 hours, special oscillating weight with satin finishings.

Functions : Hours and minutes in the center, 1/10th of a second counter at 9 o’clock. Date.

Case: 41mm steel, screwed-in crown, water resistance to 100 meters.

Dial: Black-toned, blue-toned or silver-toned sunburst star-pattern.

Hour markers and hands are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with SuperLuminova.

Bracelet: Stainless steel bracelet folding clasp. Comes with a matching rubber strap with starry sky pattern and folding clasp.

Price $8,400.

 

After releasing a series of watches during recent years that pay tribute to its historical El Primero chronograph models from the 1960s and 1970s, Zenith this week launches a revival model to celebrate its Defy collection circa 1969.

The new Zenith Defy A3642 recalls the original Zenith debut of the same name, a watch fans quickly dubbed the “bank vault” or “safe deposit box” due to its thick 37mm octagonal case and fourteen-sided bezel.

The new Zenith Defy A3642 revives a 1969 Defy nicknamed the ‘bank vault” due to its rugged construction.

The revival model retains all the details that made the original unusual at the time. These details include a grey dial with a gradient effect and applied square hour markers with horizontal grooves meant to “convey a sense of perpetual motion,” according to Zenith.

The new watch also features the same sword-shaped hour and minute hands and the same paddle-shaped seconds hand design Zenith used on many of its watches of that era. Today, SuperLuminova provides luminosity on the hands rather than Tritium, with Zenith matching the grey luminous color.

A Zenith sales brochure from 1969.

Zenith claims that use of the new luminous material, plus the use of a sapphire crystal and a clear caseback, are the only cosmetic differences between the original model and the revival edition. Even the ladder-style steel bracelet on the revival echoes the original Gay Frères ladder bracelet.

Technically however the Defy A3642 is decidedly modern. Zenith’s excellent automatic Elite 670 movement, operating at a frequency of 4 Hz (28,800 VpH) powers the new model.

Zenith currently offers a Defy collection, which is still characterized by sportiness and geometric cases. Zenith ensures a water resistance of 300 meters, echoing the original model, as ensured by a screw-down crown.

Zenith will produce the special Revival Defy A3642 in a limited edition of 250 pieces. Price: $7,000.

 

Specifications: Zenith Defy Revival A3642

(Reference: 03.A3642.670/75.M3642, a limited edition of 250 pieces.)

Case: 37mm octagonal steel case with iconic 14-sided bezel. Water resistant to 300 meters.

Movement: Zenith Elite 670, automatic, with frequency of 28,800 VpH (4 Hz) and 50-hour power reserve. New star-shaped oscillating weight with satin finishes.

Dial: Gradient brown with rhodium-plated and faceted markers and hands, filled with SuperLuminova SLN C1.

Bracelet & Buckle: Stainless steel ladder bracelet.

Price $7,000

Zenith releases the third and final watch in a special series that debuted in the metal in 2019, but had its origins fifty years ago.

The new Zenith Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third – Final Edition dramatically combines two dials of Zenith watches designed to echo the famed Zenith A384 from 1969.

The new Zenith Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third – Final Edition

That original watch, depicted with a (then non-existent) black, grey and gilt dial, was seen on the wrist of a character in the Japanese anime series starring Arsene Lupin III. The same character, Daisuke Jigen, wears another Zenith A384 later in the series, again with a dial Zenith had not yet designed.

Zenith finally created a genuine Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third watch in 2019, followed by a second edition in 2020, with each model depicting the ‘panda’ style dials seen in the animated series.

This year the watchmaker finalizes the series with this appropriately named debut—and the design is both unexpected and exhilarating.

The new watch, a limited edition of 250, combines the two previous Zenith dials in this Lupin III series. On the left, the watch features a semi-glossy black dial, grey counters and golden markers and hands from the first edition. On the right side Zenith places a white dial with contrasting black counters in the “panda” layout inspired by the second Lupin the Third edition. 

The new Zenith Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third – Final Edition features a 37mm titanium case in the proportions of the original A384. Inside Zenith fits its superb El Primero 400 automatic integrated column-wheel chronograph (see specifications below). The rotor, according to Zenith displays an engraving of Daisuke Jigen through its sapphire caseback. We’ll show you the back of the watch as soon as we obtain images from Zenith.

This piece is limited to 250 pieces. Price: $10,000

 

Specifications: Zenith Chronomaster Revival Lupin The Third – Final Edition

(Reference: 95.L384.400/50.M384, Limited edition of 250)

Movement: El Primero 400 Automatic column-wheel chronograph with a frequency of 36,000 Vph (5 Hz) and a power reserve of 50 hours.

Functions: Hours and minutes in the center, small seconds at nine o’clock. Chronograph: central chronograph hand, 12-hour counter at six o’clock, 30-minute counter at three o’clock. Tachymetric scale. Date indication.
Case: 37-mm titanium, tonneau-shaped and water resistant to fifty meters.

Dial: Black & white special split color design. Hands and hour-markers are rhodium-plated or gold-plated, faceted and coated with beige SuperLuminova.
Bracelet: Titanium “ladder” bracelet and double folding clasp.

Price: $10,000