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Zenith One Year, One Watch

2019: Defy inventor*


1982 saw the release of the movie Blade Runner – set in 2019. In the film, ‘replicants’ are androids that aspire to becoming human. The term was derived from the verb ‘to replicate’; to reproduce something. For 2019, it seemed like a neat idea to look at the year’s events through the lens of what had happened in 1969 – and see if we can spot any replicants. One such example is impeachment. In 1969, Richard Nixon was elected as President of the United States. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, he resigned to avoid impeachment. And 50 years on, Donald Trump faced impeachment proceedings.

One Year, One Watch

Defy inventor © Zenith

In 1969, the infamous Manson Family went on a killing spree. 50 years later, Season Two of Mindhunter was a smash hit – and Charles Manson was one of the protagonists. Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather was first published in 1969; in 2019, Netflix released Martin Scorese’s magnificent The Irishman. 1969 saw the first ever flight of the Boeing 747, ‘Queen of the Skies’. Fifty years later, the Boeing 737 MAX was grounded, banned from flying as of March 2019. Also in 2019, scientists at a medical conference in Seattle announced that they had cured a patient suffering from AIDS – only the second case in history in which there was a full recovery. And it was back in May 1969 that a certain Robert R. died – later identified as the first case of AIDS in the US. In 1969, the first ever message was sent via ARPANET, between UCLA and Stanford universities in California. In 2019, 188 million messages a minute were exchanged over the Internet. And then there’s the moon, of course. In 1969, astronauts first walked on its surface – and in 2019, robots took their place, including Chang’e 4, the first Chinese robot to land there. 1969 was also a crucial year for watchmaking, with the advent of the first quartz watch, the Seiko Astron, and the launch of the first automatic chronograph movements – two technical innovations that have continued to influence the world of watchmaking to this day.

Our selection for 2019 is the Zenith Defy Inventor. The year also marks the 50th anniversary of the brand’s El Primero movement, but we’ve gone for the Inventor as a watch that ‘replicates’ the technical advances of 1969, whilst heralding a brighter future than the dystopian prospect portrayed in Blade Runner.

*On the occasion of GMT Magazine and WorldTempus' 20th anniversary, we have embarked on the ambitious project of summarising the last 20 years in watchmaking in The Millennium Watch Book, a big, beautifully laid out coffee table book. This article is an extract. The Millennium Watch Book is available on www.the-watch-book.com, in French and English, with a 10% discount if you use the following code: WT2021.

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