Zenith first made history when it launched the iconic 5 Hz El Primero chronograph movement in 1969. It then made history once again when it introduced the advanced and futuristic El Primero 21 capable of measuring up to 1/100 of a second back in 2017. For 2021 the brand is once again attempting to scale new heights with the launch of the new Defy Extreme collection. Featuring a bold and robust 45mm Titanium case that is water-resistant to 200 meters, the new Defy Extreme watches are ready to handle even the most extreme conditions.
The talking point with the Defy Extreme is the rugged case construction that makes it one of the few mechanical chronographs out there that can handle almost anything that comes their way. The micro-blasted case bears a masculine angular geometry. It has been crafted from grade 5 titanium, a material that is stronger, lighter, and more corrosion resistant than stainless steel. In addition to the use of Titanium the case on the Defy Extreme is also water-resistant to 200 meters, making it a watch that is as comfortable underneath the water as it is on land.
While the case exudes a sense of solidity, the dial has been designed to showcase the complex mechanical internals that power the Defy Extreme. To achieve maximum transparency the base dial has been crafted from sapphire giving an unobtrusive view of the unique twin escapement setup, the mainspring barrel, and the bridges that are presented in black, blue, or gold. The dial features a tri-compax layout with a 30-minute counter at 3, a chronograph seconds register at 6, and a running second register at 9. There is also a power reserve indicator at 12. The hour markers have been applied and filled with luminous paint and reading time is made possible using broad lume filled skeletonized hands. The dial also features a sloped chapter ring that can be used to track up to 1/100th of a second using the centrally mounted chronograph hand.
Powering the Defy Extreme is the technically superb El Primero 21. The specialty of this movement is that it features not one but two balance wheels. While normal timekeeping is taking care of by the balance that operates at 5 Hz, the chronograph functions are handled by a super-fast balance that operates at 50Hz, making it possible to track up to 1/100th of a second. The movement offers a power reserve of around 50 hours, but what is worth noting is that it can only run for 50 minutes at a stretch with the chronograph activated.
The new Zenith Defy Extreme comes attached to a tapering Titanium bracelet and would cost USD 18,000 for the basic versions and USD 22,000 for the variant with 18k rose gold highlights.