2021 saw Zenith pay a lot of attention to their Chronomaster and DEFY Extreme collections, leaving the base model of the DEFY somewhat forgotten. However, at the outset of 2022 they’re lathering love on it with the DEFY Revival A3642 and a new collection for LMVH Watch Week, which has been christened the Zenith DEFY Skyline.
It’s no coincidence that the Skyline has been announced barely a week after the Revival A3642, as the new collection draws heavily on the revival piece in terms of its structure, although it has been heavily modernised. The facetted tonneau case sits at a modern 41mm diameter and features a simplified 12-sided bezel and bolder quasi-integrated lugs that create a flavour of sports luxe.
That flavour is strengthened by the new dial, available in either silvery white, black or blue and dominated by an engraved pattern of four-point stars, with a subdial at 9 o’clock. The stars are a reference to Zenith’s logo past and present, the single star of today and the double Z of years past. The tight, uniform alignment makes it look like a celestial regiment standing out on parade. To my mind it has a similarity to Audemars Piguet’s Mega Tapisserie, which is a similarly engraved pattern of squares rather than stars. However, that’s probably a disservice to Zenith as it has an appeal all its own.
So far, the Zenith DEFY Skyline is a vintage inspired piece with a star motif. Not exactly pushing the boat out compared with the insanity of the DEFY Extreme, but it’s nice to see a DEFY that focusses on a refined aesthetic. And, indeed, it’s inside the new watch that things get more exciting as it houses Zenith’s latest take on the legendary El Primero movement. Specifically, the new El Primero 3620 automatic calibre, which is a non-chronograph version of the 3600 first used in a non-limited series last year with the Chronomaster Sport.
While the 3620 is no longer a chronograph, it still has all the specs of its predecessor including its 1/10th of a second timing capabilities. Now, instead of using that capacity for the chronograph, it’s been put into the small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock, meaning the running seconds operates at 1/10th of a second and the hand rotates fully once every ten seconds. If you’ve ever used a 1/10th chronograph then you know it’s great fun watching the hand move at Mach 1 and now that’s a permanent feature of the watch, giving it a frenetic energy.
Elsewhere it’s fairly standard Zenith fare. The baton hour markers are rhodium plated and coated with SuperLuminova, interrupted at 3 o’clock by a date window. Then there’s a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback that showcases the updated movement. And finally, it comes with a stainless steel bracelet and a star patterned rubber strap in either black, blue or khaki depending on which dial colour you go for.
The DEFY Skyline promises to become a new staple for the DEFY range, marking the next step in the model’s history. It’s a return to a simpler, vintage inspired design rather than the modern, technical appearance of recent offerings in the line. However, with movements like the El Primero 3620 at the core, it’s no less cutting edge than we’ve come to expect from Zenith’s DEFY. With a price of £7,100 it’s not an entry level DEFY but it’s certainly at the more accessible end of the spectrum.
Price & Specs:
Model: Zenith DEFY Skyline
Reference: 03.9300.3620/01.I001 (silver-toned dial, stainless steel bracelet and khaki green rubber strap), 03.9300.3620/51.I001 (blue-toned dial stainless steel bracelet and blue rubber strap), 03.9300.3620/21.I001 (black-toned dial, stainless steel bracelet and black rubber strap)
Case/dial: 41mm diameter, stainless steel case, silver, blue or black-toned sunburst patterned dial
Water resistance: 100m (10 bar)
Movement: In-house El Primero 3620 calibre, automatic, 36 jewels
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Power reserve: 60h
Functions: Central hours and minutes, 1/10th of a second counter at nine o’clock, date indication at three o’clock
Strap: Interchangeable stainless steel bracelet with additional star patterned rubber strap
More details at Zenith.