Zenith’s Defy Extreme erupted on the scene in 2021 as a high-testosterone brother to the already virile, heavy-duty, high-performance Defy collection. Making its debut with a 1/100th of a second chronograph with two escapements, the Defy Extreme is back with an even more complex high-frequency chronograph movement equipped with two independent tourbillon mechanisms. Available in brushed titanium or sleek black carbon fibre with sandblasted rose gold accents, the Defy Extreme Double Tourbillon boasts Zenith’s most advanced chronograph movement to date, with a 60-second tourbillon driving the time and a 5-second tourbillon driving the chronograph.
High-frequency chronographs are a fundamental aspect of Zenith’s identity following the launch of the iconic El Primero 5Hz movement in 1969. Determined to exploit its prowess in the field, a 50Hz frequency movement – the Defy El Primero 21 – was unveiled in 2017, offering readings accurate to the 1/100th of a second with dual-balance architecture, a slower beating 5Hz regulator for the time and a faster 50Hz one for the chronograph, and two barrels.
The Defy Extreme collection surfaced in 2021 and took the already defiant Defy into even more radical terrain with a massive 45mm case with a thickness of 15.4mm bristling with sharp edges, angles and a 12-sided plinth beneath the bezel. Combined with skeletonised dials and fitted with the El Primero 9004 calibre, this remarkable 1/100th of a second chronograph stands out from the crowd with its two escapements – one beating at 360,000vph for the chronograph and the other at 36,000vph for the time.
Two years later, Zenith upped the antes by unveiling the Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon with two tourbillon regulators. Technically impressive and visually arresting, the Defy El Primero Double Tourbillon marked the pinnacle of innovative Haute Horlogerie in true Zenith style.
Defy Extreme Double Tourbillon
Today, the Defy Extreme collection is upgraded with the brand’s most advanced and complicated high-frequency chronograph movement. Protected by an even more rugged 200m water-resistant habitat, Zenith proves that high-end complications and bold, contemporary styling can go hand in hand.
Two editions, one in black carbon fibre with 18k brushed rose gold trimmings and another in brushed titanium, house the sophisticated El Primero 9020 complication. Like other Defy Extreme cases, the diameter of the case is a massive 45mm, marked by sharp angles and a 12-sided ring beneath the bezel. The angular chronograph pushers are protected in contrasting material that matches the material of the dodecagonal ring.
The openworked dial with tinted transparent sapphire dials reveals large portions of the movement, including the two tourbillon mechanisms with star-shaped cages. Thanks to its original dual architecture, the timekeeping and chronograph mechanism are independent and fitted with their own barrel, gear train and tourbillon regulator, meaning there is no interaction between the timekeeping movement and the chronograph.
On the one hand, the timekeeping movement runs at 36,000 vibrations per hour or 5Hz, completes a rotation in 60 seconds and has a power reserve of 50 hours. On the other hand, the chronograph movement operates at an impressive frequency of 360,000 vibrations per hour or 50Hz and whizzes around the dial at a lightning speed of 5 seconds. Capable of displaying precision readings of 1/100th of a second, the chronograph has a power reserve of 50 minutes, indicated by the power reserve gauge at noon.
The titanium version of the Zenith Defy Extreme Double Tourbillon retails for CHF 69,000; the black carbon fibre model with 18k rose gold accents for CHF 79,900. For more information, please visit zenith-watches.com.