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.
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
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.
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.
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