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Zenith Defy Revival A3648 Marks the Return of the Plongeur Diver

Zenith Defy Revival A3648

In recent years Zenith have done a lot to remind everyone that they have more watches than just the Chronomaster in their stable. Models like the Defy have an equally rich history (we even wrote an entire article on it) at the forefront of horological design and style – a fact that Zenith pay tribute to with the Defy Revival, a series of modern watches closely inspired by their heritage counterparts like the A3691 and the A3642. Now, Zenith have revisited another early, but perhaps lesser-known example of the Defy with the new Defy Revival A3648.

Zenith Defy Revival Archive Poster
Zenith Defy Revival Archive Poster

Zenith Defy Archive Posters

If you check out our article on the history of the Defy above, you can actually see a vintage A3648 in the pages of Zenith Flash Magazine in the 1970s. Honestly, if you could pull that exact watch out of the page and gave it a quick spritz up to make it shine, you would have the new Defy Revival A3648. Aesthetically, they‘re almost an exact match with a dramatic steel case (the original was 39mm, the new one is 37mm) with large facets, a uni-directional rotating bezel and 4 o’clock crown.

Zenith Defy Revival A3648

That bezel and the wide use of orange are the biggest hints that the A3648 is the earliest example of a Defy dive watch, earning it the nickname Defy Plongeur. Dive watches are a wristwatch archetype Zenith is not particularly known for, although that’s not to say that they’re complete strangers to them with vintage models like the Sub Sea. The revival edition builds on the Plongeur’s diving heritage with an impressive 600m water resistance rating making it a serious adventurer.

As is the case with any good diver, the dial is highly legible with large, lumed hour markers set into a vibrant orange minute scale. It also has matching orange hands with lumed tips. The use of orange in diving watches has a strong history, dating back to when Zenith’s fellow Swiss brand Doxa created what is widely considered to be the first orange dialled dive watch in 1967 – right around the time Zenith would have been developing the A3648. Orange has a high contrast to the blues and greens of murky water, making it easier to see for divers and search and rescue teams to see, which is why most aquatic safety equipment is orange.

Zenith Defy Revival A3648

Housed inside the watch we find the Zenith Elite 670 Calibre. It’s a time and date movement that Zenith have used across a few dozen watches including the Defy Classic and the previous Defy Revivals. While it’s not an El Primero, it still has some solid specs such as a 50-hour power reserve.

Zenith Defy Revival A3648

The Zenith Defy Revival A3648 is priced at CHF 7,900 (approx. £6,975), putting it right in the ballpark of the other Revival watches. Albeit at the top end of that bracket due to the improved water resistance and additional rotating bezel. I really, really like this watch. It’s a very unique looking dive watch that clearly has little to no influence from the big swingers of the dive watch game such as the Rolex Submariner, Omega Seamaster or Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms. It feels both modern and retro and is just flat out cool.

Price and Specs:

Model: Zenith Defy Revival A3648
Ref: 03.A3648.670/21.M3648
Case: 37mm diameter, stainless steel
Dial: Matte black
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Zenith calibre Elite 670, automatic, 27 jewels
Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 50h
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp
Price: CHF 7,900 (approx. £6,975)

More details at Zenith.

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About the author

Michael Sonsino

As Digital Editor for Oracle Time, Michael needs an eye for detail, which makes it a good thing that his twin joys in life are miniatures and watches. He's a lifelong fan of fine timepieces, especially those of a more historic nature - if it has a twist of Art Deco, all the better. Recent purchase: Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Modern Re-Interpretation. Grail watch: Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921.