Zenith Defy 21 Black & White and Defy Classic Black & White

The Zenith Defy 21 Black & White and the Defy Classic Black & White stylishly combine two contrasting hues, imbuing each model with an avant-garde appearance. However, behind the contemporary styling of both watches, the Swiss brand’s watchmaking prowess is much in evidence.

The historical Manufacture of Zenith, founded in 1865, operates from a period building in Le Locle. Its watchmaking prowess is legendary. In 1969, Zenith unveiled the El Primero, the ‘first selfwinding chronograph’. Interestingly, both Heuer/Breitling as well as Seiko also launched automatic chronographs in the same year. Each brand claims to have been the first, however, in all honesty, this seems to boil down to semantics. The fact remains that all of the aforementioned companies should be congratulated for releasing automatic chronograph movements.

What distinguished the El Primero, a column-wheel chronograph, as remarkable, was the frequency of its balance. Oscillating at 5Hz (36,000 vph), the rate of the balance was groundbreaking for the time. This higher frequency delivered superior precision and less susceptibility to shocks.

The potential disadvantages of a high-frequency movement include greater lubricant consumption, a shorter power reserve and increased wear. However, Zenith surmounted these problems, releasing its legendary calibre and attracting widespread praise. Even though this movement was released over 50 years ago, few other watch brands have been able to create their own 5Hz movement.

Zenith has long been associated with classically styled watches, however, in recent times the Swiss marque has unveiled some avant-garde designs, encompassing bold aesthetics and employing colour in an imaginative way.

Zenith Defy 21 Black & White and Defy Classic Black & White

The new Zenith Defy 21 Black & White measures 44mm in diameter and is a chronograph featuring two escapements. One escapement, operating at 5Hz, is responsible for the time indications. The second escapement, with a frequency of 50Hz, serves the chronograph function, bestowing 1/100th of a second precision.

Measuring 41mm in diameter, the Zenith Defy Classic Black & White indicates hours, minutes, seconds and the date. The 4Hz movement is automatic, skeletonised and incorporates high-tech silicon components.

Zenith Defy 21 Black & White and Defy Classic Black & White

Both models are housed in sultry black ceramic cases paired with chaste white bezels and straps.

The brand’s press release

Black & white is far more than just a choice of tones. It’s an entire design language that echoes towering urban landscapes and edgy art and fashion movements. While the DEFY 21 and DEFY Classic have gone through numerous iterations that incorporate exotic materials and vibrant colours, the Zenith Boutique-exclusive Black & White editions take on a drastically different approach with an achromatic palette.

These on-trend reinterpretations of the two most emblematic models in the DEFY collection emphasize their singularly bold architecture through heavily contrasting black and white tones put forth in an enticing manner, providing a decidedly contemporary yet versatile choice for the style-conscious watch aficionado of today.

Featuring a matte microblasted black ceramic case in 44mm for the DEFY 21 and 41mm for the DEFY Classic, the muted finish enhances the sleek lines of the faceted case as it absorbs light rather than reflect it. The two emblematic DEFY pieces are paired with white ceramic bezels for a sharp contrast, giving way to the three-dimensional dials of both models.

Zenith Defy 21 Black & White and Defy Classic Black & White

On the DEFY 21, a white 1/100th of a second scale and 30-minute chronograph counter appear to seemingly float above the blackened movement. On the DEFY Classic, the ultra-modern open dial with a central star motif is given a similar treatment in this Boutique-exclusive edition, with a white flange ring and a blackened symmetrical open dial. As the finishing touch, a black and white cordura-effect rubber strap completes the theme. For a more understated look, both editions of the DEFY Black & White also come with a second strap in textured black rubber.

The DEFY 21 Black & White and DEFY Classic Black & White are available exclusively at Zenith Boutiques and e-shop from August 31st 2020.

Further reading

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