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Zenith - Zenith beefs up the Defy collection

Zenith Zenith beefs up the Defy collection

The manufacture is filling out its Defy line with a prestige model (Zero G) and more entry-level references (Defy Classic), based on a solid foundation of modernity and transparency.

“Defy has given us the shot in the arm we needed.” Off the record, the conclusions at Zenith are clear. The arrival of the Biver/Sémon double act has given the manufacture a boost. The only thing is, the duo worked so hard that, after 15 months’ work, the product catalogue was becoming difficult to navigate.

The reason was a unique situation in the watch industry: Zenith’s most famous product lines were named after their calibres – El Primero and Elite. It’s an unusual case of a marriage of mechanics and marketing, form and function. But that’s now in the past. The El Primero range no longer exists. The Defy is here, and it includes both El Primero and Elite movements.

Defying gravity

The Defy is the first pillar on which Zenith will be focusing at Baselworld. The manufacture is coming to Basel with over a hundred new references, but a decision has been made to consolidate, from the top down, and from the bottom up.

At the top is the Defy Zero G. Complication lovers will recognise the famous Gravity Control gyroscopic module which, in its day, equipped various versions of the Christopher Columbus. By moving to the Defy collection, the piece has benefited from a very successful makeover. It now has skeletonised architecture, a titanium case and bracelet, and it has shed some weight. Zenith has spared no efforts to bring the watch into the 21st century. “The gyroscopic module has been reduced to 30% of its initial volume, and the number of components has been pared down from 200 to 140,” the manufacture confirms. The result is an ethereal, sculptural creation. The titanium bracelet is supple and fluid: “And we weren’t expecting it to give us so many challenges!” Zenith points out.

Zenith muscle sa collection Defy

Defy Zero G in titanium © Zenith

The gyroscopic module remains the star of the show. Located at 6 o’clock and slimmed down, it no longer needs a sapphire bubble. In the Defy Zero G, the front and back of the watch are now perfectly flat, and the automatic gravity compensation mechanism is in full, unimpeded view. The module cancels out the effects of gravity on the watch by maintaining the regulating organ and balance wheel in a horizontal position, reproducing in miniature the approach used for 18th century marine chronometers, which were mounted on gimbals. The watch will be priced at under CHF 100,000.

Classic Sport Chic

At the opposite end of the ladder, the Defy range will be extended with the arrival of new Defy Classic models, which will constitute the gateway into the collection. Here, “Classic” means hours, minutes, seconds and date. With a 41 mm titanium case, a skeleton movement, and a dial embossed with a star in unique shades of blue, the Defy Classic is an authentically Zenith interpretation of the sports-chic watch that countless versions of the El Primero have embodied over recent decades. In the interests of accessibility, the Defy Classics will nevertheless be fitted with the more affordable Elite calibre.

Zenith muscle sa collection Defy

Defy Classique with a blue dial © Zenith

For the first time this movement, with its silicon pallet and escape wheel, is given a thoroughly modern black coating and placed on full display via skeletonisation. For fans of contemporary classicism, the model is also available with a closed dial in blue sunburst with a date at 3 o’clock. It comes with the same choice of straps available for the openworked version (titanium, leather or rubber), at a price of CHF 5,900.

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Ever since it was founded, Zenith has been cultivating the ability to open up new horizons by assisting with some of the most remarkable human achievements.

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