While Zenith certainly has made a name for itself with its high-frequency chronograph movement, the El Primero, there’s far more to the brand in recent years. Not only the Le Locle-based manufacture has strengthened its expertise in the field of chronographs – and the present watch is another proof of that – but is also moving into technical and contemporary design territories, specifically with the Defy collection. A bold and highly technical watch, the Defy El Primero 21 has been presented in multiple brightly coloured editions, such as the Ultraviolet or military-inspired Urban Jungle. And let’s not forget the rainbow-themed Defy Chroma. This year, it returns as an MK2 version, now available in black or white, with new tones to impress.
The Zenith Defy Chroma II sub-collection, composed of two limited edition watches, follows last year’s inaugural watch. Back then, this multi-colour watch was only available in white ceramic, but the new version is actually a duo of models that adds a black version to the equation. There’s no denying that we’re here looking at modernistic and edgy design language. Far from the vintage codes of the Chronomaster or Pilot’s collections, far from the restrained elegance of the Elite range. The Defy 21 Chronograph is modern, and the Chroma II watches are willingly bold and loud.
Compared to the first edition released last year, the technical base remains identical. This means a large barrel-shaped case of 44mm in diameter and 14.5mm in height, with a circular raised bezel on top. The profile is characterized by two large rectangular pushers and an oversized crown, and the watches are worn on rubber straps with cordura-effect inlays and (of course) rainbow-coloured stitching. The shape of the strap follows the lines of the case to give the desired “integrated luxury sports watch” look. The main difference compared to the MK1 Chroma is that not only you’ll be able to yet again get a matte white ceramic version, but also now a brushed and polished black ceramic edition.
The colours are the main difference compared to last year. Despite still using the tones of the rainbow as a base, the new models are different. The black ceramic version brings forth a range of tones based on the primary colours with a yellow rubber insert on the crown, while the white ceramic version features brighter accents with an emphasis on blues and pinks with a blue rubber insert on the crown. This effect can be seen on the hour makers, the hands and through the open dial that reveals the bridges of the movement. Each is finished in a different metallic colour, again following the gradient of the dial’s markers.
Powering the Zenith Defy 21 Chroma is the innovative, in-house El Primero 9004 automatic, which has twin escapements and twin barrels. The time escapement beats at 5Hz (36,000vph), and the chronograph escapement beats at 50Hz (360,000vph), with the latter allowing for the precise 1/100th of a second timing. The two barrels provide a 50-hour power reserve and up to one hour of continuous chronograph timing. It has 53 jewels and is chronometer-certified by TIME LAB. The rotor is shaped like the Zenith star with a satin blue finish, and an additional piece has a pink PVD coating. Functions include central hours, minutes and 1/100thchronograph seconds, 30-minute counter, 60-second counter, small seconds and power reserve indicator.
The Zenith Defy Chroma II in white ceramic is limited to 500 pieces and available at the brand’s boutiques and selected retailers, while the black ceramic edition of 500 pieces is available at all Zenith authorized points of sale. Each model will be priced at CHF 15,500.
For more details, please visit zenith-watches.com.