Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

Zenith Defy Classic – Redefining the Brand’s Sports Watch

Zenith's Defy Classic fleshes out the Defy collection as a bold, entry-level contender.

| By Robin Nooy | 3 min read |

Today we take a second look at the Zenith Defy collection, and more specifically at the Zenith Defy Classic. Following in the wake of the revolutionary high-beat Zenith Defy El Primero 21 chronograph, the limited edition Zenith Defy Lab and the spectacular Zenith Defy Zero-Gthe Defy Classic fleshes out the collection as an entry-level contender. Endowed with the sporty and bold good looks of its brothers, the time-and-date Defy Classic comes in 41mm brushed titanium cases in two versions – one with a trendy sunburst blue dial and the second with a more elaborate skeletonised dial. 

The recent resurrection of Zenith’s Defy range, a testbed for innovative watchmaking concepts, brings the collection firmly into the 21st century. Where the very first El Primero chronograph movement had a 5Hz frequency and measured time to 1/10th of a second, last year’s release – the Defy El Primero 21 – raised the bar to a frequency of 50Hz and can measure time to 1/100th of a second. Following this impressive chronograph came the Zenith Defy Lab, featuring a revolutionary oscillator and a case made from a special aluminium foam composite alloy.

Ad – Scroll to continue with article

The Zenith Defy Zero G featured a movement with a gyroscopic gravity module housing the horizontally-aligned movement. Inspired by a ship’s gimbal and harking back to the days when Zenith produced marine chronometers, the module first saw the light of day in the Zenith Academy Christophe Colombe Equation of Time.

For the Zenith Defy Classic to contend in the category of a luxury sports watch, a few essential features have to be in place: a shaped case, an integrated bracelet, a stepped bezel, a robust design with – of course – that 1970s touch. Looking at the Zenith Defy Classic, it ticks more than a few of these boxes. It all starts with the shaped 41mm wide, brushed titanium case. This is accompanied by an integrated titanium bracelet which follows the circumference of your wrist very snuggly, without any sharp edges. The combination of a lightweight titanium case and an integrated strap or bracelet makes for a very wearable, comfortable sports watch.

The Zenith Defy Classic comes in two different versions. The simple, more traditional Zenith Defy Classic features a full blue dial with sunburst brushing.  The other version features a skeletonised dial and movement, with some very interesting touches. The dial is shaped like a star, evoking the brand’s logo. Time is indicated in only the most essential elements; hours, minutes and seconds mounted in the centre and a date window at three o’clock (or 6 o’clock for the skeletonised version). Bold, large hour markers aid the legibility on both watches, which is a welcome touch on the less subtle skeletonised version. Simple, tapered straight hands with a luminous central stripe and a slim seconds hand with a star-shaped counterweight finish it off nicely.

This skeletonised version, by the way, is not simply the same watch with a cut-out dial on top. The slim branches reveal the automatic movement underneath, finished in the same tones as the original El Primero from 1969.  Inside ticks the Zenith Elite Calibre 670 automatic movement, visible through the sapphire caseback. The rotor for this movement is also shaped like a star, completing the trio of details featuring the brand’s logo.

Prices for the two Zenith Defy Classic models don’t differ too much, and both come on either an integrated brushed titanium bracelet, a leather-coated rubber strap or a full rubber strap in either blue (full dial) or black (skeletonised). Prices range from CHF 5,900 and CHF 7,500. The watches are now available at retailers. More information on

2 responses

Leave a Reply