During the 2020 edition of the LVMH Watch Week, Zenith presented the Defy Midnight, a trio of watches made especially for women with a 36mm steel case, a gradient dial, diamond hour markers and interchangeable straps. As a member of the more avant-garde Defy collection for men, the Defy Midnight borrows the sporty tonneau-shaped case and round bezel of the family but tones down the size and dresses it up with feminine touches. The latest Defy Midnight models unveiled during the 2022 edition of the LVHM Watch Week are the Midnight Sunset and Midnight Borealis, two women’s watches designed to capture the colours of the sunset and the phenomenon of an aurora borealis.
Angular sporty case
The 36mm stainless steel case of both models captures the 1970s vibe of the men’s Defy models with its sharp, angular personality accentuated with brushed surfaces and polished bevels. No information is provided on the height of the case but judging from our photographs, it has a certain chunkiness that complements its sporty nature and 100m water-resistance. Unlike the first models that came with a choice of diamond-set or flat bezels, the latest models are set with 44 brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel.
The novelty here is the dial colours that were inspired by two of nature’s most beautiful phenomena: a sunset and the northern lights. Both are gradient dials with the most saturated colour emanating from beneath the applied Zenith star on the dial at noon. A wavy guilloché pattern divided into twelve rays radiates from the star and widens progressively to reach the perimeter. The darker tonalities are concentrated in the upper part of the dial, roughly from 10 to 2 o’clock, while the rest displays a beautiful transition of colours. The Midnight Sunset (a bit of an oxymoron) features a darker hue of orange at the top and gradually fades from a peachy blush to a golden colour. The Midnight Borealis starts with an intense dark green colour under the Zenith star, gradually transitioning to a bright emerald green towards the bottom. Even the minutes tracks on the perimeter of the dials follow the gradient effect. Brilliant-cut diamonds represent the hour markers, save the 3 o’clock position which is allocated to the date window with a somewhat jarring white background. The only trace of luminescence is found on the faceted rhodium-plated hour and minute hands; the central seconds hand has a star-shaped counterweight.
Like some of the men’s Defy models, the stainless steel bracelet that comes with the watch is well-built and finished with brushed outer links and a polished central link. In tune with the latest trends in watchmaking, the Defy Midnight models come with a quick strap exchange mechanism allowing you to switch the stainless steel bracelet for any of the three additional coloured straps (leather, textile and rubber) presented with the watch. What is interesting is that the textile and leather straps are made by Nona Source, an LVMH start-up producing sustainably made straps using deadstock fabrics from the group’s most prestigious fashion and leather goods maisons. The remnants are then upcycled and transformed into straps in a wide array of textiles and colours. Completing the package is an interchangeable folding buckle for the straps.
The Midnight Borealis and Midnight Sunset watches are equipped with the in-house Elite 670 automatic calibre. Visible through the sapphire crystal caseback, the movement features a large skeletonised star-shaped rotor and is fitted with a silicon pallet lever and escape wheel. The frequency is 28,800vph, and the power reserve is 50 hours.
The Zenith Defy Midnight Sunset and Defy Midnight Borealis are not limited editions and retail for CHF 11,400. More information at Zenith-watches.com.