At this year’s Watches and Wonders, Zenith revealed the DEFY Extreme a tricompax chronograph with an open worked dial that takes everything the DEFY range does well and makes it, well, more extreme. But now Zenith have announced that the watch will be receiving a series of limited edition recolours and updates inspired by the Earth’s most extreme habitats, the first of which being the new Zenith DEFY Extreme Desert.
The most noticeable change is to the dial. The layout is the same as before but now the sapphire crystal counters have a sandy tint. They could easily have tinted the entire dial but they haven’t, leaving the khaki tone as a central focus instead. I really like that they haven’t gone too far with the desert theming because it maintains the watch’s definition and readability.
However, there are more ways to evoke the desert than simply using various shades of brown. Take a look at the case for example, there’s no khaki in sight but it’s still incredibly desert themed. That’s because the 45mm titanium piece has been adorned with new pusher and crown guards and a new bezel ring. They are made from a dark desert gemstone called Falcon’s Eye, named after the birds kept by nomadic desert tribes. It’s the first time the material has been used integrally to a case’s construction in any watch.
The only other major change is that the rubber strap is in fact a matching sand tone, although you could opt for the black Velcro strap or titanium bracelet, all of which use Zenith’s quick change system. The movement inside the watch, visible through the dial, is the same El Primero 21 calibre. Which to give it its due, is an insane chronograph movement that can time intervals up to 1/100th of a second and has a 50-hour power reserve.
To celebrate the launch of this 50 piece limited edition, Zenith have worked with British wildlife and nature photographer Kourosh Keynejad. Together they have curated an exhibition of desert photographs that will be available to buy alongside the watch, which costs £18,500, at a travelling tour starting in Paris, before moving on to Dubai and finally Tokyo.
Assuming that the rest of the series that Zenith have promised follows the same pattern, I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves. Maybe a volcanic red version with obsidian-like accents, or an oceanic blue with coral. We’ll have to wait and see.
Price & Specs:
Model: Zenith Defy Extreme Desert Edition
Case/Dial: 45mm diameter x 15.4mm height, brushed titanium case, tinted sapphire dial with three beige-coloured counters
Water Resistance: 200m (20 bar)
Movement: El Primero 9004 calibre, automatic, 53 jewels
Frequency: 36,000 vph (5 Hz)
Power Reserve: 50h
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock, 1/100th of a second Chronograph, 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, 60-second counter at 6 o’clock, chronograph power-reserve indicator at 12 o’clock
Strap: Titanium triple folding clasp and microblasted titanium bracelet, also comes with a beige rubber strap and a black Velcro® strap
Price/availability: £18,500 (CHF 21,900), limited to 50 pieces
More details at Zenith.