It was just last fall that Zenith wowed the world with its incredible, revolutionary Defy Lab watch, with two world premiers including a single-piece oscillator. Later in the year, the brand fortified its strength in the world of Defy El Primero watches with a huge New York City event with Swiss Beatz (honoring a partnership with the musician), Alicia Keys and Fabolous in the house. This was the launch of the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 – an incredibly accurate timepiece based on the brand’s rich watchmaking history. Now, for 2018, the brand unveils all-new Zenith Defy El Primero 21 timepieces with boldly daring black, blue and brushed renditions.
The newest watches — as their name implies — house El Primero movements. This legendary caliber was first launched in 1969 as the world’s first fully integrated automatic column-wheel chronograph movement. It was the first to offer 1/10th of a second precision. For nearly half a century it has been the benchmark in the industry, until now. With the new Zenith El Primero 21, the brand pushes the timing to 1/100th of a a second accuracy in an automatic movement.
Zenith Defy El Primero 21
The new movement, El Primero 9004, developed in house by the brand beats at an incredible frequency of 360,000 A/H — or 50 Hz — making it 10 times its predecessor. To show off the 1/100th of a second precision, Zenith offers an inner bezel with a graduated scale from 1 to 100 — with a second hand sweeping around it in lightning speed of one turn pre second. Visually impactful, it almost has a surreal effect — somehow driving home how fast time flies. Additionally, the watch is a TIME-LAB certified chronometer. The 293-part movement houses two escapements, one for the timepiece (5 Hz) and one for the chronograph functions (50 HZ).
As to the looks: big, bold and innovative is the only solution for this powerful timepiece. Each chronograph timepiece offers the 50-hour power reserve indication at 12:00. The 44mm watch is built in several versions. Each version, however, features an open-worked dial that offers a look at the movement parts and also serves as a platform for some of the key design characteristics, including the star-tipped sweep seconds hand, baton style luminescent has, faced hour markers and bold color.
Easily our favorite model is the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Blue. Crafted in titanium, the 44mm watch features rhodium-plated hour makes and hands and blue accents. In fact, the watch features a striking blue main plate. The watch is offered with a matching blue rubber strap, giving the timepiece a decidedly different look. It features a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective treatment on both sides, and a transparent sapphire caseback for viewing the movement. It is water resistant to 10 ATM. This blue version is a statement of ethereal looks and style. It retails for $11,200.
Our other favorite is the Zenith Defy El Primero 21 Black — crafted in a 44mm black ceramic case. A stealth statement, the black version is offered with a sleek black ceramic bracelet ($15,100), or with a black rubber strap ($12,200). This model has a very different look than the blue one, almost a bit more avant grade and mysterious at the same time.
The Zenith Defy EL Primero 21 Brushed Titanium version features a single signature blue ring and a totally brushed titanium bracelet ($12,200). There are also some other versions, including one with a closed dial and color-coded chronograph subdials, and a spectacular diamond version. We will bring you more about those watches when we get the chance to go hands on with them.