Zenith Defy Classic Carbon
The Zenith Defy Classic Carbon upholds the Swiss brand’s reputation for innovation. It features an integrated carbon fibre bracelet – ‘a first for an automatic watch.’
Founded in 1865, Zenith is a long-established company with a rich heritage and extraordinary watchmaking expertise. However, its age has never inhibited its capacity to innovate.
In 1969, the firm unveiled one of the first self-winding chronographs, the El Primero. Remarkably, this movement had a high frequency of 36,000 vph (5Hz), a feat that most watch brands have been unable to match.
More recently, in 2017, Zenith unveiled the Calibre ZO 342, casting aside the ubiquitous Swiss lever escapement. This cutting-edge movement features an oscillator made of a silicon wafer and formed into an elaborate shape. It has a frequency of 15Hz, delivering superior precision, rate stability as well as consuming less energy.
Despite the brand’s age, its innovative mindset shows no signs of waning. Indeed, the firm has once again pushed the limits, recently releasing the Zenith Defy Classic Carbon. While other brands offer watches housed in carbon fibre, Zenith has conceived a watch with both a carbon fibre case and matching bracelet, ‘a first for an automatic watch’.
The carbon fibres are placed in a mould, combined with epoxy resin, subjected to heat and then allowed to cool. The result is a homogenous block of material which can be subsequently milled. As the carbon fibres are randomly aligned, no two components look the same, imbuing the watch and bracelet with their own unique identity. The total weight of the Zenith Defy Classic Carbon with its carbon fibre bracelet is just 65 grammes.
Should a prospective purchaser prefer an alternative to the carbon fibre bracelet, a cordura-effect strap, with a carbon and titanium folding buckle, is also available. Lastly, Zenith has augmented the visual appeal of the model by endowing it with an openworked dial.
The brand’s press release
Zenith has repeatedly demonstrated its mastery of innovative and exceptional materials in the DEFY collection, expressing its vision of the future of watchmaking with groundbreaking pieces. The DEFY Classic Carbon explores uncharted territory of innovation, with a full carbon fibre construction – including the integrated bracelet.
Carbon fibre is prized for its rare combination of lightness and durability as well as its unique and futuristic appearance. Yet its use in watchmaking has been fairly limited. One part in particular has eluded watchmakers: the bracelet. Up until now, so-called carbon fibre watch bracelets have either been superficial plaques of the composite material fixed to a metal base or reserved for a handful of highly complicated watches produced in very small numbers. With the DEFY Classic Carbon, Zenith brings forth an ergonomic and eye-catching solid carbon bracelet to an automatic watch, an unprecedented technical feat and edgy design statement.
Producing a full carbon fibre bracelet required the Manufacture to take on an entirely new set of technical challenges. Weighing a mere 65 grams in total with its carbon bracelet and titanium clasp, the DEFY Classic Carbon sets a new benchmark of precision for Zenith that extends beyond the movement. In relative terms, it weighs almost half as much as an equivalent DEFY Classic model in titanium with a bracelet in the same metal, which is already significantly lighter than traditional metals like stainless steel and gold. Its intriguingly nuanced appearance gives way to a sensation that’s unexpectedly silky and smooth to the touch. It’s incredibly light but balanced weight makes it easy to forget that one is wearing a watch at all.
Following the angular lines of the DEFY Classic case that’s made in the same material, each link in the bracelet is a piece of solid carbon fibre, moulded and milled with precision in such a way that it highlights the layers or “strata” of the carbon fibre, while providing superior ergonomics on the wrist. Its lightness, comfort and visual impact are bound to intrigue. Because the patterns are layering of carbon fibre can differ from one component to the next, no two watches will be exactly alike. And for those who prefer the contrast of the carbon fibre case against strap, the DEFY Classic Carbon is also available with a black rubber cordura-effect strap, with a carbon and titanium folding buckle.
The DEFY Classic Carbon’s aesthetic is homogenous with the dark allure of the carbon fibre case and bracelet, emphasizing the unabashedly futuristic and architectural design language of the singular skeleton watch. Highlighted by the open dial with a star-shaped motif, the automatic Elite manufacture calibre has also been given a dark treatment in ruthenium. And in spite of its palette of anthracite and black tones, legibility is guaranteed with bright green Super-LumiNova on the blackened hands and applied hour markers.
The DEFY Classic Carbon will be available at Zenith Boutiques and retailers as well as its online shop from November 2020.