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Zenith Launch Defy Skyline Tourbillon with New High Beat El Primero Tourbillon Movement

Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon

One of my personal favourite Zenith launches from the last few years is the Defy Skyline. It’s a watch that combines the industrial aesthetic of a Genta-esque, steel, integrated bracelet sports watch with a colourful dial and distinctive four pointed star pattern. Since that debut collection Zenith have steadily expanded the collection with more variants such as the Skyline Skeleton. Now, Zenith have upped the ante even further with an haute horological edition, the new Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon.

There are two versions of the watch available, a blue edition with stainless steel case and a black dial reference with a black ceramic case. Both versions measure 41mm in diameter with the characteristic facetted design and broad, 12-sided bezel. Plus, there’s the integrated bracelet in either steel or matching ceramic – although the steel model also comes with a blue rubber strap as an alternative.

Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon
Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon

The dial is more or less what you’d predict from a Skyline Tourbillon. The rotating tourbillon cage is presented at 6 o’clock and the rest of the dial features the characteristic star pattern. The biggest twist is that instead of the uniform star field, it’s been warped around the tourbillon in a radial pattern that gets steadily larger. It gives the impression that the tourbillon is a black hole, sucking in all the nearby stars.

On the whole I think the pattern is cool, feeling more energetic than the standard Skyline. Although I do think the standard one feels more authentic in terms of that industrial, Genta-style design. However, the new bold pattern is in keeping with the fact that this is a tourbillon model and a tourbillon watch with an open heart aperture has never been subtle.

Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon

The tourbillon itself is part of the calibre El Primero 3630 automatic. It’s a brand-new addition to the El Primero family and operates at the same high frequency of 5Hz or 36,000 vph. It has a 60-hour power reserve and has central hour and minute functions. The tourbillon, which rotates once every 60-seconds, functions as a small seconds subdial while also combating the effects of gravity on the movement.

Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon
Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon

The Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon in steel is priced at £49,000 and the black ceramic one is £57,900. Neither is an insubstantial investment by anyone’s reckoning. But then, it is really cool to see a new high frequency tourbillon movement make its debut in such a fun and distinctive collection as the Defy Skyline. Plus, seeing the Skyline be developed in interesting ways as Zenith reimagine it is exciting. How long until we see a Skyline Chronograph to build on the El Primero’s famous heritage?

Price and Specs:

Model: Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon
Ref: 03.9300.3630/51.I001 (stainless steel) or 49.9300.3630/21.I001 (black ceramic)
Case: 41mm diameter, stainless steel or black ceramic
Dial: Blue or black sunray pattern
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: Zenith calibre El Primero 3630, automatic
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Power reserve: 60h
Functions: Hours, minutes, tourbillon
Strap: Stainless steel or black ceramic bracelet with additional blue or black rubber strap
Price: £49,000 (stainless steel) and £57,900 (black ceramic)

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.