Focusing on its contemporary Defy collection for early 2023, Zenith this week adds new 36mm and skeleton models to its hot new Defy Skyline series while also introducing a new Defy Extreme design.
Defy Skyline Skeleton
Introduced last year, the 41mm Defy Skyline has become a strong-selling steel bracelet design for Zenith. The watch, with its constantly running 1/10th of a second counter at 9 o’clock (completing one revolution every ten seconds) introduced El Primero 3620, a new iteration of its El Primero 3600, which headlined the debut of the Zenith Chronomaster Sport in 2021.
As Zenith explains, this automatic manufacture movement drives the 1/10th of a second hand directly from the escapement, which beats at 36,000 VpH, thus making it a “natural fraction-of-a-second indication.”
With the new Defy Skyline Skeleton Zenith adds two versions of the steel watch with a skeletonized symmetric dial that looks much like four-pointed stars. Zenith notes that the open-work here is a direct reference to a Zenith “double Z” logo of the 1960s.
You may recall that the Defy Skyline’s faceted bezel is also meant to recall early 1960s eight-sided Defy models that have been now reimagined with twelve sides, each positioned as extensions to the hour markers.
Blue or black
Defying the typical hard-to-read skeleton dial design, Zenith purposefully applied a generous amount of SuperLuminova to the Skyline Skeleton’s applied baton hour markers and its central hour and minute hands.
Zenith offers the new skeleton design in a black or blue hue. The same color can be found on the main plate as well as the bridges and open star-shaped oscillating weight, visible from the back.
As usual, Zenith mixes its finishes, applying matte, satin-brushed and polished surfaces to the steel case and bezel. Its efficient automatic bi-directional winding mechanism with a star-shaped rotor delivers a power reserve of approximately sixty hours. The Defy’s steel bracelet can be swapped with the supplied rubber strap and steel folding clasp the boasts a starry sky pattern, matching the dial.
Defy Skyline 36mm
Also new in 2023 is a slightly smaller Skyline model, which debuts in three new pastel colors, each offered with or without a diamond bezel.
Unlike the 41mm debut edition Skyline and the new Skeleton version, this unisex example is a traditional time-and-date model fitted with a Zenith Elite movement that doesn’t include the one-tenth-of-a-second subdial at 6 o’clock.
Price: $8,500 (no diamonds) and $12,000 (with diamonds).
Zenith also adds a Boutique Edition to the lineup of the original 41mm model offerings. This model features a contrasting color scheme with rose gold highlights. Zenith has engraved the watch’s anthracite dial with a rose gold motif and added rose gold hands and hour markers.
The intent, according to Zenith, is to mimic the night sky and its twinkling stars. To do this, artisans have engraved the Skyline’s characteristic four-pointed star dial pattern and then plated it with rose gold.
Zenith will deliver the watch on a steel bracelet with a satin-brushed surface and chamfered and polished edges. An easy-change black rubber strap with a starry sky pattern is also provided.
Defy Extreme Glacier
Zenith also adds the Defy Extreme Glacier in 2023 as an extension of its rugged 45mm titanium-cased Defy Extreme collection, a series that boasts a 1/100-of-a-second El Primero chronograph.
More specifically, the new watch is meant to complement the Defy Extreme Desert from 2021. While that watch was designed to echo hot and arid conditions, the new model is inspired by frozen landscapes and built with a chalcedony dodecagonal outer bezel and pusher protectors.
Chalcedony is a crystalline semi-translucent stone with a pale blue color meant to look like a frozen glacier. Zenith says each stone is cut and polished by hand, and because each exhibits slightly different colors and fibers, every bezel from the fifty-piece limited edition will appear slightly different on each of the fifty examples of the Defy Extreme Glacier.
Zenith continues the ice-cold theme by making the chronograph counters using transparent sapphire crystal that’s also given a terrific frosted finish to look icy and to allow light to pass through.
Through the frosted finish the wearer will see an El Primero 9004 high-frequency chronograph movement, found in all the Defy Extreme models. The movement offers 1/100th-of-a -second time measurements with two independent escapements. One beats at 5Hz (36,000 VpH) for timekeeping while the second vibrates at 50Hz (360,000 VpH) to activate the chronograph function. Zenith makes the nicely finished movement, a certified chronometer, visible through the sapphire display back.
Zenith finishes the watch with a black Velcro strap and white rubber strap, which can be easily swapped with the titanium bracelet using Zenith’s quick strap-change mechanism.
As noted, Zenith will offer the Defy Extreme Glacier as a limited edition of fifty pieces, available exclusively at Zenith stores and online boutiques.