You can’t really call it a comeback, when you never left. But, Zenith returns to market prepared for the 21st century with another contemporary twist added on to one of their most celebrated models, the trailblazing “El Primero”.
At the moment Zenith was under the temporary command of none other than Jean-Claude Biver, the chairman of Hublot and official CEO of TAG Heuer. Recent update: in the meantime Zenith has finally confirmed who their new CEO shall be. They’ve opted for Julien Tornare, who was previously linked for the last 17 years to the Vacheron Constantin brand. He began by supervising U.S. and Swiss markets boutiques, before heading 13 of their boutiques in the Asia Pacific market. Although not as enchanting a figure as Jean-Claude Biver, maybe he’ll pick up and continue to foster some of his traits, since Biver is said to remain involved with Zenith for the foreseeable future. Or he may surprise us all with his own personal vision, as he now steps in to command.
Meanwhile the model Jean-Claude Biver decided to rescue from the obscurity of Zenith’s back catalogue was the “Defy” that was originally called and spelt “Defi”, though this name swap already happened in 1969 it was only used for some sports watches. So although they could have altered it again, they’ve decided to reintroduce it to the market with a series of modern enhancements, while repurposing and preserving this “Defy” moniker, for the first of this new line of watches. A complete differentiation from its original predecessor wasn’t deemed necessary, since only being discontinued in the late 1990’s.
Video courtesy of: Zenith
The 44mm case is available in either: titanium or ceramised aluminium with a transparent case-back that allows to view the inner workings of this brand new movement. More specifically two models have titanium cases, while a third model has the ceramised aluminium. These cases have been finished with alternating brushed and polished surfaces, especially notable on the titanium versions. They all come equipped with oversized rectangular chronograph pushers, an angular case and a flat bezel. Water-resistance on these timepieces can reach up to 100 meters (330 feet).
Time is exhibited on either: an open skeletonized dial for the aluminium version; while the titanium version can be had with an open or closed dial. All versions use hour index markers and feature three sub-dials: a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock; a sub-seconds at 9 o’clock; and a seconds and tenths of a second at the 6 o’clock position.
There is also a power reserve indicator for the chronograph under the Zenith star and logo at the 12 o’clock position. All hands and hour index markers have been coated with superluminova, for an enhanced legibility.
Zenith Defy El Primero 21
This “Zenith Defy El Primero 21” (References below) is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement, caliber El Primero 9004 with 53 jewels, 203 components and 36,000 Vph. Power reserve on this watch can last up to 50 hours, when fully wound.
The brand new caliber we encounter on this edition was actually named “El Primero 21” for the 21st century. A key feature in its conception was a “double chain” construction, featuring two balance wheels, gear trains and mainsprings; one intended to power the timekeeping, while the other supplies the chronograph.
Mounted to these watches is a black rubber strap with a black alligator leather lining, secured to the wrist by a double folding deployment clasp, matching the material of the versions case. This timepiece should become available to the public towards the end of 2017.
Ref#: 95.9000.9004/78.R582 – MSRP: $18,100.00 USD
Ref#: 95.9001.9004/01.R582 – MSRP: $16,600.00 USD
Ref#: 24.9000.9004/78.R582 – MSRP: $19,500.00 USD
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