Introducing The new Zenith Defy Skyline Tourbillon Watches

These new tourbillons bring the Defy Skyline back into focus.


Zenith’s been on a roll as of late, we really liked their Chronomaster Sport and El Primer Triple Calendar introductions, all of which built on the success that was the revamped Pilot range last year. Zenith’s range of watches however, is quite expansive, but we only typically hear about the releases from the biggest selling ranges. Does anyone remember the Defy Skyline that was introduced a few years ago? We tried to get our hands on one but couldn’t make our calendars work out. I’m not saying it would’ve been a roaring success had WristReview got one in, but, y’know.

Anyway, the Defy Skyline exists as a more upmarket and dress-oriented version (I guess) of the standard Defy, which in itself is quite dressy and sporty thanks to its nature as a steel watch with an integrated bracelet. You know the drill. Anyway, the Defy Skyline has taken a back set for a bit, but has come back armed with the complication that’s most notorious for taking a watch to the upper echelons of watchmaking, even if it serves no practical purpose. I am, of course, talking about the tourbillon.

The ‘regular’ Defy Skyline Tourbillon features a 41mm stainless steel case with 100m of water resistance and a tapered bracelet to meet the needs of smart/casual sports watches. Of course, the tourbillon escapement brings it to more smart/casual than sporty, but the aesthetics are there. For the stainless steel watches the dial colour choices are blue or, er, blue, but there is a ceramic model which looks thoroughly modern and that one comes with a black dial to match the black ceramic case and bracelet. Is this a “budget” Royal Oak? I feel like Zenith might be upset by that, but it does make pricier tourbillon watches a harder proposition.

Both watches feature the El Primero calibre 3630, which is an automatic movement with the iconic Zenith ‘star’ rotor and some otherwise good finishing. I’d love to wax lyrical to you about that, but I haven’t seen it in person yet. What I can say is that, as an El Primero calibre, the balance wheel beats at the 5Hz frequency you’d expect, ensuring a somewhat higher level of accuracy than some other watches. The tourbillon cage still does one rotation a minute.

Overall, I like the new additions to the Zenith range, I hope I’ll get to see them at Watches & Wonders in April. Their price is reasonable (hear me out) for tourbillon watches, at least, with the steel model costing $55,300 USD and the ceramic model $65,400 USD. Yes, for most that’s not reasonable at all, but for those who could afford to part with that and more, there are plenty of brands only too happy to take a bigger chunk from your wallet while offering a similar amount as these Zeniths do.