The Defy 21 chronographs have been the most ambitious for Zenith in terms of design and function – innovative and forward-thinking. Openworked dials, wild colours and ultra-precise movements have come to define the collection with models like the purple-themed Defy 21 Ultraviolet or military-inspired Defy 21 Urban Jungle. The latest Zenith Defy 21 Chroma brings the brightest palette yet with an all-white case, strap and sub-dials, and a splash of colour to liven things up. A dual-escapement automatic with a 1/100th of a second chronograph makes it as cutting edge as it is stylised – and objectively, very bold and rather polarising too.
The case of the Zenith Defy 21 Chroma is matte white ceramic, coming in at a bold 44mm in diameter and 14.5mm in height. The twin pushers and crown with yellow ring are titanium. The use of colour continues on the white rubber strap with blue, green, orange and violet stitching running down the edges. It secures to the wrist with a titanium triple folding clasp. There are twin sapphire crystals, and the movement is partially visible from the front and on full display through the caseback. The design is unchanged from other Defy 21 Chronographs, but the new case material and bright white theme completely change the character. Water-resistance is again 100 metres.
The dial elements are primarily white, including the sub-dials with a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock, a 60-second counter at 6 o’clock and small seconds at 9 o’clock. The central chronograph hand spins once per second instead of the usual once per minute, accurately measuring 1/100th of a second (hence the 60-second sub-dial). The outer chronograph scale has a rainbow of hour markers, starting with red at the top and revealing the entire spectrum. The applied rhodium-plated indices have varnish to match the range of the outer numerals. A power reserve indicator with red accents sits at 12 o’clock. The lower bridges visible behind the sub-dials have green and violet PVD coatings, while a bridge under 12 o’clock is orange. They match the colour scheme of the dial elements, along with the sub-dial hands with yellow, cyan and violet tips. White is the combination of all colours, and the dial separates them into the visible spectrum like a prism. The partially skeletonised hour and minute hands have Super-LumiNova inserts.
Powering the Zenith Defy 21 Chroma is the innovative, in-house El Primero 9004 automatic, which has twin escapements and twin barrels. The time escapement beats at 5Hz (36,000vph), and the chronograph escapement beats at 50Hz (360,000vph), with the latter allowing for the precise 1/100th of a second timing. The two barrels provide a 50-hour power reserve and up to one hour of continuous chronograph timing. It has 53 jewels and is chronometer-certified by TIME LAB. The rotor is shaped as the Zenith star with a satin blue finish, and an additional piece has a pink PVD coating. Functions include central hours, minutes and 1/100th chronograph seconds, 30-minute counter, 60-second counter, small seconds and power reserve indicator.
The Zenith Defy 21 Chroma is limited to 200 pieces and retails for CHF 14,400. It may be slightly polarising, but it offers a fresh take on the Defy 21 Chronograph series if you’re ready to assume it. For more information, please visit www.zenith-watches.com.