The Defy Classic gets a full carbon jacket and becomes the first automatic watch to boast an integrated carbon fibre bracelet. Weighing in at just 65 grammes, half that of a similar model in titanium, the Defy Classic Carbon sets a new benchmark in lightness. With its novel black carbon fibre case and bracelet, this three-hand-and-date model beats to the same skeletonised Elite 670 manufacture movement and displays an openworked dial like other members in the Defy Classic family.
The Defy collection is Zenith’s hothouse of technical fireworks and futuristic design. With models like the Defy El Primero 21, a high-frequency chronograph capable of measuring hundredths of a second, the Defy Lab 3 with its hyper-precision oscillator, and the Defy Zero G with a gravity control module, the Defy is a showcase of defiantly contemporary models with impressive technical achievements. Having a sub-collection called Defy Classic might come across as an oxymoron, but has been the name given to define the more straightforward three-hand-and-date models. Although they are simpler on the mechanical front and designed as entry-level contenders, the Defy Classic models are not shy and adopt the brazen skeletonised dials and high-tech case materials of their complex siblings.
Carbon fibre all around
Carbon fibre is not a new material in watchmaking and has been used extensively for crafting cool-looking, lightweight yet highly resilient cases. What is new is the use of carbon fibre on a bracelet. To date, most carbon fibre bracelets were made with plaques of composite material adhered to a metal base. Not only does it weigh (65 grams) almost half the weight of a similar watch in titanium, the texture of carbon fibre is extremely smooth and agreeable to the touch.
The angular lines of the tonneau-shaped case (40mm diameter x 10.75mm height) are crafted in black carbon fibre and each link in the bracelet is a piece of solid carbon fibre, moulded and milled to reveal the ‘strata’ or mottled marbling that make it such an original material.
Dark, Openworked dial
Like many of the Defy Classic models, the dial is openworked and displays a stylised grey five-pronged star (Zenith logo) spanning the circumference to touch the hour and minutes chapter ring. The bold, wedge-shaped, ruthenium-plated hour markers are applied to the chapter ring and, like the blackened hour and minute hands, are treated with green Super-LumiNova to help read the time in poor light conditions. Compared to the black lume on the 2018 Defy Classic Black Ceramic model, the bright green lume is noticeably brighter in daytime light conditions and much easier to read.
Below the five-pronged star, you can see parts of the dark ruthenium-treated movement, including the entirety of the date wheel. Zenith’s star appears on two other occasions on the dial: applied in metal just below noon and on the counterweight of the central seconds hand. The dial is protected by a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides and the watch is water-resistant to 100m.
Elite 670 SK
A staple in Zenith’s line-up for decades, the automatic Elite manufacture calibre was reimagined as an openworked movement for the Defy Classic family with restructured open bridges and a star-shaped rotor. Beating at a frequency of 28,800vph, the movement, which can be seen through the sapphire caseback, offers a minimum power reserve of 50 hours for the central hours, minutes, seconds and the date function at 6 o’clock. The blue silicon pallet lever and escape wheel can be seen dial-side at 11 o’clock.
The Zenith Defy Classic Carbon Fibre is available now (November 2020). It comes with two strap options: the integrated carbon fibre bracelet with a titanium clasp, or a black rubber strap with a carbon and titanium folding buckle. The full-carbon model retails for CHF 19,900, the carbon model on a rubber strap for CHF 11,900.
More information at Zenith watches.