Zenith: Reach For Your Star

March 14, 2022

Digital events and one-to-one presentations kicked off 2022 for Zenith as it introduced its latest iterations and creations launched during the LVMH Digital Watch Week 2022 to watch aficionados across the region.

A watch that holds your attention, practically stopping you in your tracks, is Zenith DEFY Midnight Borealis.The dial inspired by the aurora borealis or northern lights starts as midnight blue at the top, morphing gradually into a vibrant emerald green towards the bottom connecting with free-spirited women everywhere with its promise of adventure. Sparkling white diamonds mark the hours, except at 3 o’clock, the spot for the date window is placed. Housed in a 36mm stainless steel case embellished with brilliant-cut white diamonds on the bezel, this fresh take is a work of art. With exactly the same specs, DEFY Midnight Sunset seamlessly transitions from warm red to a deep yellow tone capturing the drama of the setting sun. Besides the steel bracelet and supplied straps, DEFY Midnight owners can add to their strap collection with sustainably made straps from Nona Source, a start-up incubated by LVMH that uses deadstock fabrics from the group’s fashion & leather goods Maisons to create handmade haute couture straps.

With the spotlight firmly on the DEFY collection, the focus shifts to the new DEFY Skyline, a collection that reinterprets elements from the 1969 DEFY A3642 in a contemporary context powered by the latest generation of the El Primero movement. On the new DEFY Skyline, Zenith CEO Julien Tornare shares, “After a lot of time spent perfecting the design, proportions and precision, my team and I are extremely proud of the way the DEFY Skyline turned out. It’s the purest expression of the modernistic DEFY line that stands out.”

Its architectural and highly faceted silhouette draws inspiration from the unique octagonal geometry of the early DEFY models. Fixed atop the 41mm stainless steel case with sharply defined edges, the faceted bezel is reimagined with twelve sides to echo the hour markers. The screw-down crown with the star emblem provides water-resistance of 10 ATM (100 metres). The geometrically structured star-studded dial is engraved with four-pointed stars, a modern reimagining of the Zenith “double Z” logo of the 1960s. The hour and minute hands and the date window at 3 o’clock are finished in the same colour as the dial. On a small counter at 9 o’clock, a constantly running 1/10th of a second hand makes steady jumps in fixed increments, completing a full revolution every 10 seconds; delivered on a steel bracelet with a satin-brushed surface.

TheDEFY Revival A3642 is reproduced as a limited edition of 250 pieces in stunningly accurate detail using the original production plans from 1969, bringing back all the details and singular design elements that made theoriginal outstanding. This includes an octagonal case paired with a fourteen-sided bezel, a warm grey dial with a striking gradient effect that darkens towards the edges, unusual applied square hour markers feature horizontal grooves, and the now-iconic Gay Frères steel “ladder” bracelet. The wide sword-shaped hands filled with SuperLumiNova are paired with a paddle-shaped seconds hand. The only cosmetic differences between the Revival and its progenitor are the sapphire crystal, the display case back and the luminescent pigments. The water-resistance of 30ATM (300 metres) has also been maintained from the original. The other main difference beats away inside. Instead of the original’s solid case back emblazoned with a four-pointed star, the DEFY Revival A3642 features a sapphire display back showing the automatic Elite 670 manufacture movement, operating at a frequency of 4 Hz and delivering a power reserve of 50 hours when fully wound.

The DEFY Extreme Carbon is built to withstand the elements and is equipped with the world’s fastest and most precise automatic chronograph movement. This watch embodies Zenith’s spirit of innovation and exceptional performance. Introduced in 2021, it is the boldest and most rugged iteration of Zenith’s ground-breaking 1/100th of a second automatic high-frequency chronograph to date. Capable of withstanding even the harshest elements, the DEFY Extreme arrives in a resolutely sporty carbon fibre execution inspired by the world’s first off-road electric rally racing championship (EXTREME E), of which Zenith is the Official Timekeeper and Founding Partner. Visually striking and astonishingly light, its case, pushers and crown are in durable layered carbon fibre. Highlighting the angular geometry of the case, the pusher protectors and the twelve-sided bezel are in micro-blasted titanium.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. In contrast, 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 and the case back is the fastest automatic high-frequency chronograph calibre, offering1/100th of a second-time measurements, with two escapements beating at 5Hz for the timekeeping part and 50Hz for the chronograph. The DEFY Extreme comes with three straps that are easily interchangeable.

In its matte-finished white ceramic case DEFY 21 Chroma is a refracted rainbow spread evenly across the open dial and movement, in a gradient of colours spanning the spectrum. The red-painted markerat 12 o’clock shifts 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 and 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. The open 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 dial as well as the sapphire case back is the singular El Primero 21 automatic high-frequency 1/100th of a second chronograph, 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 Front Row Team

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