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Zenith Introduce New Defy Extreme Diver with 600m Water Resistance

Zenith Defy Extreme Diver

The Defy collection stems from the same era as Zenith’s El Primero chronograph calibre. This pioneering phase in Zenith’s history still echoes through the watch world. 1969 was a year of firsts in watchmaking and the Zenith Defy Diver was among the revolutionary quartz and automatic chronographs.

The rugged diving watch with angular facets and a dodecagonal (12-sided) bezel embraces the era’s radical designs. But without getting bogged down with the past, Zenith reintroduces the Defy Extreme Diver to modernise the concept with contemporary features.

Zenith Defy Extreme Diver

Crafted in grade 5 titanium, the Defy Extreme Diver’s 42.5mm x 15.5mm case maintains strength with relative lightness. While pure titanium boasts a dull grey aesthetic, Zenith utilises a titanium alloy to achieve a lustrous sheen. Emphasising the sharp angles and intricate facets with the mixture of polished and brushed finishing techniques. Running along the bevels of the case and crown guard edges is mirror-polishing, which is made more difficult to achieve due to titanium’s hardness.

Titanium watches typically attract a premium over stainless steel variants due to the robust tooling and manufacturing overheads. All this effort assists in creating an arresting design, but titanium also offers corrosion resistance for saltwater diving excursions

Zenith Defy Extreme Diver Titanium 95.9601.3620
Zenith Defy Extreme Diver Titanium 95.9600.3620

While the intricate case grabs your attention, the bold dial design and prominent hands keep you returning. This is a dive watch through and through, and Zenith reminds us of this in all the details. The striking orange minute track stands out for readability in the murky depths. Complementing the inner, fixed portion of the bezel, this inner minute scale also follows the dodecagonal pattern — a nod to the 1960’s Defy.

ZENITH DEFY-Extreme-Diver

To contend with modern dive watch sensibilities is the outer, ratcheting, ceramic, unidirectionally rotating dive scale bezel. On the bezel, the extraneous grooves are interspersed with smooth edges to offer excellent grip, especially when wearing dive gloves. Complementing the legibility in low light conditions is the X1 grade Super-LumiNova infills for the 60-minute scale.

ZENITH DEFY-Extreme-Diver_95.9600.3620.21.I300

The oversized applied indices also serve a purpose with angled facets emphasising the luminescent material. To accentuate it further, the markers at 12, 6, and 9 feature a white outline following the contours of the indices. At 3 o’clock is the colour-matched date window with a similar white edging. The main dial surface features the Defy’s signature four-pointed star with a sunray pattern delivering a metallic lustre.

Zenith Defy Extreme Diver
Zenith Defy Extreme Diver

If anything about this watch defies the “Extreme” moniker, it’s the semi-skeletonised hands and liberal application of lume and orange accents. Competing for the “Extreme” claim is the 600m depth rating or, rather amusingly, 1,969 feet. This level of water resistance is double the 300m standard. The Zenith even includes the helium escape valve on the case side, primarily for saturation diving.

ZENITH DEFY-Extreme-Diver

Powering the Zenith Defy Extreme Diver is the 5Hz El Primero 3620-SC automatic calibre with 60-hours of power reserve. I suppose the least dive-focused aspect of the watch is the sapphire caseback, which allows you to view the movement. However, I would prefer Zenith to stick the landing and opt for a solid titanium caseback While the movement is pleasant to observe, the rest of the watch has gone to the extreme to make it rugged, which the atypical sapphire window goes against.

Zenith Defy Extreme Diver
Zenith Defy Extreme Diver

The Zenith Defy Extreme Diver has a matching titanium bracelet and two complementary straps — the FKM rubber strap affixes to the lugs directly with a quick-release button. However, the fabric strap crafted from recycled fishing nets comes with bespoke titanium end pieces. The Zenith Defy Extreme Diver comes in blue or black dials for £10,200.

Price and Specs:

Model: Zenith Defy Extreme Diver
Ref: 95.9600.3620 (black), 95.9601.3620 (blue)
Dial: Black or blue
Water resistance: 600m (60 bar)
Movement: El Primero 3620 SC, automatic, 35 jewels
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Power reserve: 60h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Titanium bracelet with folding clasp with additional black FKM rubber with folding buckle and black fabric strap with pin buckle
Price: £10,200

More details at Zenith.

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About the author

Ben Hodges

Ben has been an avid watch collector since 2014 and spends his time keeping up to date with all things horological. As an editor with Fratello Watches since 2019 and an ex-president of the Oris Social Club London from 2020-2022, Ben somehow squeezes in a regular 9-5 day job. But writing about watches is his main passion and keeps him sane on the evening train. Ben yearns for a gold watch one day but makes do with a few bronze watches for now.