Zenith dresses its hyper-high-frequency Defy 21 chronograph in sharp black & white attire. Available from today, the latest model to join the Defy 21 family can only be bought in Zenith boutiques and through its online retail platform. Zenith’s answer to the El Primero chronograph for the 21st century, the Defy 21 offers breakneck speed and phenomenal accuracy with its 50Hz frequency and 1/100th of a second chronograph readings.
In 2017 Zenith decided it had to increase the cachet of its legendary high-frequency El Primero chronograph movement and create a new movement in line with 21st-century mechanical expectations. The answer was the Defy El Primero 21. Introduced at Baselworld 2017, the Defy El Primero 21 jacked up the pace of Zenith’s legendary 1969 automatic El Primero chronograph movement from 5Hz to 50Hz frequency offering precision to 1/ 100th of a second. To keep up with the pace and maintain cruise control of the gas-guzzling movement, the watch was equipped with twin escapements and twin barrels. Since then, the Defy 21 has turned up in a multitude of guises and materials, with openworked dials, closed dials, luminous customised editions and even models with high-frequency ultraviolet vibes.
Today, Zenith launches a striking black & white rendition of its high-frequency Defy 21 chronograph. Faithful to its lineage, nothing has been altered regarding its size or functionality. The 44mm case is crafted in a matte microblasted black ceramic case. Not only does the colour black attenuate the size of the case, but the matte finish absorbs light. With all the technology on board and the openworked dial and caseback, the 100m water-resistance might come as a welcome surprise.
A white ceramic bezel provides a bold contrast to the black matte case and frames the openworked dial with its dizzying array of components and counters. The white scale on the perimeter of the dial tracks the lightning speed of the chronograph seconds hand, in this model picked out in white with a white Zenith star counterbalance. Racing around the dial once a second, it is capable of recording elapsed times to the 1/100th of a second. The black track features the suspended faceted and rhodium-plated hour markers with white lume. In keeping with the black & white palette, the two chronograph counters (rings) at 3 (30-min) and 6 o’clock (60-sec) are picked out in black and white as is the power reserve indicator just below the 12 o’clock marker. The rhodium-plated hands corresponding to the hours, minutes, small seconds and chronograph counters are coated with Super-LumiNova SLN C1.
El Primero 9004 automatic
Visible from both sides of the case, the automatic high-frequency El Primero 9004 movement reveals its complexity and the bridges are blackened to enhance visibility. Running at a frequency of 50Hz (360,000 beats per hour) to offer an unprecedented 1/100th of a second accuracy has its challenges though. To counter the huge energy consumption (and wear and tear on the parts) required for these performances, the Defy 21 relies on a dual-balance and dual-barrel architecture.
The timekeeping functions of the watch (hours, minutes and seconds) are regulated by the regular 5Hz frequency of the El Primero, while the chronograph is controlled by the second balance running at 50Hz. To keep the two independent movements running smoothly, the movement is equipped with two barrels providing a power reserve of approximately 50 hours – when the chronograph isn’t engaged. Despite its colossal speed, chronometry is never compromised and the movement is chronometer-certified by Time Lab. Like other Defy 21 models, the rotor is an openworked star shape and picked out in black here.
Strap and price
An integrated black rubber strap with a predominantly white rubber central strip echoes the colour scheme of the watch and comes with a double folding clasp in titanium with black DLC coating. The watch also comes with an additional textured black rubber strap for a more understated look. From today and going forward, the Zenith Defy 21 Black & White (ref. 49.9007.9004/11.R923) will be available exclusively at Zenith boutiques and its official online retail platform with a price tag of CHF 13,900 or EUR 13,700.
More information at zenith-watches.com.