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Zenith  - Defy 21 Felipe Pantone

Zenith Defy 21 Felipe Pantone

Watchmaking and Optical Art come together for a great cause: Zenith & Felipe Pantone create a unique defy double tourbillon for "Only Watch 2021" charity auction

Colour is light. Colour is joy. Colour is hope. For its 9th edition, Zenith continues to support the Only Watch biennial charity auction under the high patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, raising funds for research into duchenne muscular dystrophy through the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies by creating and donating a truly unique piece with Friend of the Brand and collaborator Felipe Pantone.

A supporter of the Only Watch since its very first edition in 2005, Zenith has pulled out all the stops to create its most complex and detailed one-off piece for the biennial charity auction. For its 9th consecutive contribution to the biennial Only Watch charity auction, Zenith brought acclaimed op artist Felipe Pantone onboard to take the codes from their highly acclaimed collaborative DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone and push the chromatic concept even further. Their alchemy has resulted in a singular object that is as technically brilliant as it is visually electrifying, with several firsts for Zenith and watchmaking at large.

The Manufacture’s most advanced and complex chronograph to date, the DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon, was chosen as the canvas for this unprecedented unique piece. Regulated by two independent tourbillons operating at 5Hz for the timekeeping function of the movement and 50Hz for the 1/100th of a second chronograph, which rotate at rates of 60 seconds and 5 seconds respectively, the result is at once a masterful feat of contemporary haute horlogerie and a dynamic work of kinetic art.

Defy 21 Felipe Pantone

Defy 21 Felipe Pantone for Only Watch

The artist then translated his acclaimed design language to the movement’s decoration as well as the open dial. Using the principal of interference colours, the coating on the bridges reflects a gradient of metallic rainbow tones, marking the first time the innovative three-dimensional PVD with silicon particles as a surface treatment on a tourbillon chronograph movement to produce a spectrum of perfectly transitioning colours. The entire movement is fixed within a metal container that is also given the same rainbow effect. The case back view also delights with the same rainbow PVD coating on the bridges, where “Unique Piece” is engraved on one of them under the blackened star-shaped winding rotor.

Allowing as much light as possible onto the vividly coloured inner workings of this mechanical marvel, Zenith opted for a case made entirely of transparent sapphire crystal for the first time in the Defy collection. Adored for its crystal-clear transparency and extreme hardness, synthetic sapphire requires a long series of painstaking processes to reach its final form – from precisely moulding the highly three-dimensional elements to finishing and polishing them to perfection.

On the dial side, the central hour and minute hands take on a distorted look resembling lightning bolts, a recurring element in Pantone’s work. Like the movement, a rainbow gradient of colours in PVD is applied onto the hands, while each of the applied hour markers is filled with a different colour. The moiré optical effect on the dial produced by thin alternating white and black using fine laser-engraving and precise lacquering techniques.

The DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 comes in a special box resembling an art book, as well as an original signed artwork by Felipe Pantone. Titled “Optichromie 135 Z”, this enamel and UV paint on aluminium painting in the artist’s signature style measures 170x120cm and is in fact the artwork that Pantone created for Zenith, which was then miniaturized and reproduced for the DEFY 21 Felipe Pantone edition’s packaging.

The DEFY 21 Double Tourbillon Only Watch 2021 unique piece will be auctioned by Christie’s in Geneva on November 6th 2021, with all proceeds from the sale benefitting the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathie. 


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