By Cody D. Smith

Zenith is launching a limited run of 25 of their Defy El Primero 21’s this year to commemorate a new pop-up pod that was constructed on the Golden Coast of Sardinia. This is intended to be a special release of Zeniths hundredths of a second chronograph that made its debut at Baselworld back in 2017. This is a maritime inspired release from Zenith, let’s see if hits the mark.

This Defy comes in the beautifully constructed 44mm titanium case that is reminiscent of the original El Primero’s launched back in the 1970s. A white bezel made of ceramic material adorns the skeleton face, a feature we have come to expect from Zenith. This is often a controversial decision, but I feel that it blends well with the high tech movement that is humming inside. It would almost be a shame to hide such a technical marvel from sight, so I applaud the choice by Zenith to let it be open in all its glory.

This model brings blue to a new level. The aquatic theme is uniform throughout the watch, with blue hour markers, hands, crown, and the power reserve indicator at the 12 o’clock. The sixty second and thirty minute counters are displayed at the six o’clock and three o’clock positions, while a continuous seconds hand makes its presence known at the nine o’clock position.

Inside we have the El Primero 9004 automatic movement, which operates at 5Hz (36,000vph). The escapement for the chronograph beats at a mind numbing 50Hz (360,000vph) which offers accuracy of up to a tenth of a second. The central chronograph hand is a signature feature of this watch, performing one complete turn around the dial within one second. COSC certified and fitted with a 50 hour power reserve, it also has a 50 minute autonomy to keep in pace with the hundredth of a second chronograph.

Zenith, always at the front of horological prowess, has used its own patented material for the balance springs. Called Carbon-Matrix Carbon Nanotube composite, it remains unaffected by both temperature and magnetic fields, providing the wearer with uninterrupted access to his timepiece and peace of mind knowing that this is a movement that will provide accurate readings no matter what the conditions are. The caseback features an engraving of a yacht with a flag to further continue the maritime look of the watch.

Fitted to a white rubber edged alligator strap in a matching blue, this is a stunning Defy to behold. Zenith is one company that does limited releases the correct way, and the Porto Cervo is no exception. It is living proof that a company can still produce thoughtful and unique limited runs without them coming across as too gimmicky. If you are interested in securing one of the 25 that will be floating around the world, it will cost you 12,900 Euro. Visit Zenith here.