Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet
The Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet is the latest high-precision chronograph from the Manufacture famed for creating the legendary El-Primero. This new watch features a chronograph which runs at a mind-blowing frequency of 50Hz. In addition, as if to emphasise the cutting-edge nature of the watch, the movement is suffused with vivid violet hues.
The Zenith Manufacture is a brick-built building, positioned on a slight incline, located in Le Locle, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded in 1865, the firm brims with traditions. As the years have passed, Zenith has created some beautiful classically-styled watches.
Nevertheless, tradition has never stifled the Maison’s capacity to innovate. In 1969, the firm produced one of the first self-winding chronographs, the El Primero. Perhaps more remarkable than its capacity to automatically wind the mainspring was the dizzying frequency of its balance, 36,000 VpH (5Hz). Some 50 years later, few brands have been able to match the speed of the El Primero’s balance wheel.
However, there are potential problems with high-frequency movements, including increased wear, an increased thirst for lubricants and a tendency to quaff energy, reducing power-reserves. Clearly, Zenith surmounted these issues in 1969 as the El Primero has become a byword for reliability.
By operating at 5Hz, the increased frequency delivers superior precision, the movement is less susceptible to positional influence and the chronograph can measure intervals to ⅒ of a second.
Now the esteemed Maison has unveiled a new, ultra-modern chronograph, the Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet. This automatic chronograph once again operates at 5Hz for timekeeping duties, however, the chronograph runs at mind-blowing frequency of 50Hz. The central chronograph seconds hand can circumnavigate the dial (360°) in just one second and is capable of measuring intervals to 1/100th of a second.
Lastly, to underscore the modernity of the Zenith Defy 21 Ultraviolet, the movement is presented in a vivid shade of violet. It seems far removed from Zenith’s creations of the 20th century, but rest assured the overarching principles of craftsmanship, precision and reliability continue to endure.
The brand’s press release (May 2020)
If all the colours that our eyes can perceive are to be considered as frequencies of visible light, then violet has the highest frequency of them all, beyond which is invisible ultraviolet light. It was only natural to pair this intense, energetic colour with the highest-frequency chronograph in regular production, the DEFY 21.
In past centuries, violet was coveted as the most sought-after colour dye for garments, the production of which was a closely held secret by certain civilizations such as the Phoenicians. Its rarity and compelling beauty made it the stuff of royalty. Today, violet tones portray a sense of daring, confidence and whimsy, from sports cars to bespoke tailoring. Yet in the world of watchmaking, violet remains a rarity.
A world-first in watchmaking, Zenith has treated an automatic chronograph movement in the regal, opulent tones of violet. Not just any chronograph, Zenith chose its revolutionary 1/100thof a second El Primero 21 chronograph calibre beating at an incredible frequency of 50Hz as the canvas for this visually and mechanically striking creation.
Visible through the open dial, which features three grey chronograph registers and a grey flange ring, the vibrant violet movement is accentuated by the DEFY 21’s uniquely avant-garde movement conception and design with open, angular bridges. A white-tipped central 1/100th of a second chronograph hand makes a complete revolution above the dial in one second. Besides the DEFY 21 El Primero 50th Anniversary edition, which was only available as a box-set with two other watches, the DEFY 21 Ultraviolet is the first stand-alone DEFY 21 with an open dial paired with closed chronograph counters.
Allowing the purple-treated bridges of the movement to truly stand out while providing a more striking contrast, the faceted 44mm case of the DEFY is given an entirely matte sandblasted finish, bringing out the darker metallic nuances of titanium. Complementing the tones of the open movement, which can shift from warm violet to cool purple tones, the black rubber strap features a violet insert that mimics the look of woven textile.
Zenith: Time to reach your star
Zenith exists to inspire individuals to pursue their dreams and make them come true – against all odds. Since its establishment in 1865, Zenith became the first watch manufacture in the modern sense of the term, and its watches have accompanied extraordinary figures that dreamt big and strived to achieve the impossible – from Louis Blériot’s history-making flight across the English Channel to Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting stratospheric free-fall jump.
With innovation as its guiding star, Zenith features exceptional in-house developed and manufactured movements in all its watches. From the first automatic chronograph, the El Primero, to the fastest chronograph with a 1/100th of a second precision, the El Primero 21, as well as theInventorthatreinvents the regulating organ by replacing the 30+ components with a single monolithic element, the manufacture is always pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Zenith has been shaping the future of Swiss watchmaking since 1865, accompanying those who dare to challenge themselves and break barriers. The time to reach your star is now.