Monochrome Watches
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The Latest Zenith Defy Skyline Comes with a High-Frequency Tourbillon

A new radial dial pattern and a resilient luxury sports watch case welcome an El Primero high-frequency tourbillon calibre.

| By Rebecca Doulton | 3 min read |
Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon steel

Zenith’s Defy family is represented by seven sub-collections, including the recent Defy Skyline range. The name of the collection dates to Zenith’s 1902 line of robust pocket watches bearing the name ‘Defi’ only to pop up again in 1969 to distinguish the toughest member of the first El Primero references. For the Defy Skyline collection, Zenith borrowed specific design cues from the 1969 model but toned them down to produce a contender in the luxury sports watch segment without excess vintage overload. The two new Defy Skyline models are fitted with a high-frequency tourbillon movement securely contained in a robust and sporty 41mm Defy case, ensuring the complication can be enjoyed daily and in practically any situation.

Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon Black Ceramic

As a more subtle and contemporary interpretation of its 1969 ancestor, the 41mm Defy Skyline Tourbillon flaunts an octagonal case but has replaced the tetradecagonal (14-sided) bezel with a 12-sided one. Decorated with vertical brushed surfaces and brightly polished angles to emphasise the edgy contours of the case, the new models are available in steel or sleek black ceramic with matching bracelets. The screw-down crown ensures a water-resistance rating of 100 metres – not bad for a model fitted with a tourbillon.

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Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon steel

Instead of the grid pattern composed of engraved four-pointed stars decorating the dials of other Defy Skyline models, Zenith’s designers have come up with a more dynamic, radial pattern for the dial. Still using four-pointed stars, these now radiate from the tourbillon at 6 o’clock, growing in size as they reach the dial’s perimeter – somehow reminiscent of a Royal Oak Tourbillon. The star-studded sunray-patterned metallic dial effectively draws the eye to the aperture of the tourbillon.

High-frequency tourbillon regulators are pretty rare in the industry but make perfect sense in Zenith’s distinguished lineage of high-frequency movements. Completing one revolution every 60 seconds, the tourbillon cage is shaped like an open four-pointed star and is fixed to a finely mirror-polished bridge with sharp bevels. The luminescent indices and hands of the blue dial are rhodium-plated; the black dial flaunts contrasting rose gold-plated elements.

Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon steel

The Defy Skyline Tourbillon is powered by the new El Primero 3630 automatic high-frequency manufacture calibre. This is, in turn, based on the architecture of the 5Hz El Primero 3620 found in the time-only Defy Skyline models, with its 1/10th of a second hand whizzing around the sub-dial at breakneck speed. Also beating at 5Hz, the El Primero 3630 delivers a beefy 60-hour power reserve and displays more elaborate finishings than the 3620. The openworked star-shaped rotor reveals bridges decorated with Côtes de Genève stripes arranged in a sunray pattern emanating from the tourbillon, echoing the décor on the dial.

Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon high-frequency tourbillon

The Defy Skyline Tourbillon comes on a stainless steel or black ceramic bracelet and is delivered with a second strap in blue or black rubber with a folding clasp. Thanks to the quick-strap-change mechanism on the caseback, the bracelets and straps can be changed without tools.

The Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon in steel retails for EUR 59,600 and EUR 70,400 for the black ceramic model. For more information, please contact

1 response

  1. Hi Rebecca, thank you for your article. The watch is wonderful and – being myself a fan and owner of Zenith watches – makes me happy to see a well implemented technical feature as a high speed tourbillon.
    However the downside is the extreme similarity (as you mentioned) to AP ROO tourbillon. The risk here is to downgrade this fantastic piece to a wannabe watch.
    I wonder whether – in general – watch designer consider the similarities with other models/brands when drawing a new model. It would be interesting to check this aspect of watchmaking in well estabilished brands.
    Best regards,


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