Watch brands of the LVMH group present their novelties for 2021 in an online, one-week event from the 25th – 29th of January. Among the novelties Zenith will be presenting is a new ceramic colour for the case of its Defy 21, the brand’s fastest chronograph in production. Decked out this year in khaki green ceramic, the Zenith Defy 21 is ready to take on the urban jungle.
Introduced in 2017, Zenith increased the cachet of its legendary high-frequency El Primero chronograph movement with a new and faster movement in line with 21st-century expectations. The Defy El Primero 21 notched up the speed of the 1969 El Primero movement from 5Hz to 50Hz and raised precision tenfold, from 1/10th of a second to 1/100th of a second chronograph readings. To keep up with the calibre’s breakneck speed, the Defy 21 is equipped with twin escapements and twin barrels. Currently Zenith’s highest frequency chronograph in regular production, the contemporary case of the Defy 21 is a natural candidate for high-tech materials. Over the past three years, the Defy 21 has made appearances in titanium, carbon fibre and ceramic cases, including a wild ultraviolet model introduced in 2020.
The Defy 21 kicks off 2021 in combat mode. The 44mm tonneau-shaped case of the Defy 21, with its angular base and circular bezel, is made from khaki green ceramic with a sporty non-reflective matte finish. In contrast, the rectangular pushers and crown are steel. The caseback is open, and the water-resistance is of 100 metres.
The openworked dial can be overwhelming on first inspection. Starting at the perimeter is a silver-coloured scale tracking the lightning speed of the central chronograph seconds hand. Racing around the dial once a second, the white chronograph seconds hand with its Zenith star counterbalance can record elapsed times to the 1/100th of a second. The rhodium-plated hour markers are suspended from the black track, and like the three central hands, are treated with Super-LumiNova.
The tri-compax layout is arranged as follows: two open sub-dials (a silver 30-minute register at 3 o’clock and a black 60-seconds register at 6 o’clock) for the chronograph information a minimalist small seconds indicator at 9 o’clock. The other indication on the dial is the linear power reserve indicator at noon. Looking down into the complex scenery of the dial, you can see parts of the mainplate that are green to match the case.
Two regulating organs
To counter the huge energy consumption of the 50Hz (360,000 beats per hour) frequency, the El Primero 9004 movement is equipped with two escapements. (You can see one of the escapements on the dial, between 7 and 8 o’clock.)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 escapement running at 50Hz. To keep the two independent escapements running smoothly, the movement is also 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 green to match the case.
The Zenith Defy 21 Urban Jungle comes with a black rubber strap with a khaki green Cordura effect and a double-folding titanium clasp. The retail price is EUR 14,400.
More information at Zenith Watches.