In 2021, Zenith expanded the Defy collection by adding a new rugged series. Appropriately named the Defy Extreme, the watches in this range share 45mm titanium cases, black, blue or rose gold elements and are powered by the El Primero 9004 automatic chronograph movement with two escapements. According to Zenith, the Defy Extreme is the toughest 1/100th of a second chronograph ever. With an easily recognisable case design and a rugged spirit, these timepieces can withstand the most challenging weather conditions and perform effortlessly, no matter how bad it is out there.
Now, the toughest is not the epithet you usually would use to describe the appearance of a luxury watch, but there you are. This limited edition of a new Defy Extreme chronograph sought inspiration in the mountains and transferred the cold feel of ice rocks onto the dial and the 45mm case of the Glacier. The effect is achieved by bringing in chalcedony to manufacture the pusher protection guards and the bezel. Chalcedony is a translucent crystalline stone that comes in many colours; the most popular chalcedony is of a blue variety. After being cut and hand-polished, blue chalcedony reveals its structures, exhibiting shades of pale blue reminiscent of glaciers and frozen landscapes.
The dial is chronograph-style, busy but well balanced (no date window), with parts of the inner workings showing through the semi-transparent areas. At 3 o’clock, there is a 30-minute counter, with a 60-second counter at 6, and the small seconds at 9. The hands and the hour markers are rhodium-plated, faceted and coated with Super-LumiNova.
The watch looks icy hot, and the tinted sapphire dial with silver-coloured counters plays to the glacier theme quite well. But the movement makes all the difference as it is the El Primero 9004, one of the few mechanical chronograph movements capable of measuring time intervals up to 1/100th of a second. The Defy Extreme Glacier’s outer ring is graduated precisely for this purpose.
The calibre 9004 is based on the original El Primero, and it uses a secondary gear train with an escapement beating at 360,000vph for the chronograph. For keeping time, the regulating organ beats at 36,000vph. Each escapement has a power source, and the mainspring barrels are wound separately by the rotor movements for the watch and by hand for the chronograph. You will find a power reserve indicator for the chronograph under 12 o’clock. However, since it requires a lot of energy to run at its programmed speed, it is limited to 50 minutes. The watch, when fully wound, runs non-stop for about 50 hours.
The new Zenith Defy Extreme Glacier chronograph is offered on a brushed titanium bracelet. Also in the package is a white rubber strap with a folding buckle and a black Velcro strap with a triple-folding clasp in titanium; the bracelet and straps are interchangeable. The Defy Extreme Glacier is a limited edition of 50 pieces, and the price is EUR 28,000 or CHF 25,900. The watch is available through Zenith boutiques only. For more information, please visit www.zenith-watches.com.