Introducing Zenith’s (Nearly Invisible) Defy Extreme Mirror watch

Zenith's new Defy Extreme Mirror leans into the architectural world with dramatic results.


With the holiday season upon us, it’s a time for festivities, gift-giving, sharing and getting cool presents to play with. Zenith’s newest watch, the Defy Extreme Mirror, is shiny enough to be considered a Christmas tree bauble despite its apparent un-bauble-like shape.

Zenith’s plan with this one is to help it bend in with its surroundings by making it reflect whatever’s around it, as if light bends around the watch entirely rather than reflecting into your eyes. This trick has been used to extreme effect, especially in architecture where mirror houses seem to disappear into their surroundings. I can see where Zenith was going with that on the Defy Extreme Mirror, but it’s hard to see how well it’s been achieved given that I don’t have one in person to see. One of the reasons the houses work so well when they’re covered in mirrors is because they’re static, a glinty watch moving around usually attracts more attention. This glintiness (is that a word?) extends to the dial, which has silvery subdials and applications of rhodium. I don’t know if that’s enough to make it legible, but it’s quite impressive.

It’s also slightly comedic that Zenith’s press photos show the watch with its bracelet apparently disintegrating, of course this is meant to be a visual effect that demonstrates the airiness of the design, lets hope Zenith’s bracelet is sturdy enough. The watch is 45mm across and made of stainless steel, of which every surface has been polished. There’s also a polished metal bracelet and Zenith also includes a rubber strap with a buckle and a Velcro strap, too, all with a quick change system for easy access. The water resistance is 200m.

Inside this watch is the self-winding calibre El Primero 9004. This in-house movement is famous for being two movements combined in one, the hands are powered by a 5Hz balance wheel which has a mainspring good for 50 hours of power reserve. Meanwhile the chronograph is powered by a second balance wheel operating at 50Hz, this one only comes into use with the chronograph activated. It’s very accurate, with Zenith claiming it times down to 1/100th of a second. Its more a case of “how far can we push the boat mechanically?” rather than “what’s the most practical?”, and I appreciate that.

In fact, I appreciate the whole watch. When I spoke with IWC’s Creative Director, Christian Knoop, at Watches & Wonders earlier this year, we spoke about how architectural design influences horological design. Given that today’s world is choc full of mirror houses and cutting-edge buildings made of metal and glass, it’s easy to see how Zenith’s Defy Extreme Mirror fits in.

The price is CHF25,900.