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Zenith at LVMH Watch Week 2022 – Part 1

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This January Zenith introduced the DEFY Revival A3642, a modern reinterpretation of the earliest DEFY model. As a next step Zenith is unveiling some of its latest creations at LVMH Digital Watch Week 2022 alongside LVMH Maisons Bulgari, Hublot and Tag Heuer.

It seems that Zenith wants to use its heritage wisely – the recent reproductions of their iconic models were quite successful launches (like this great El Primero A386 Revival in pink gold). The emblematic timepieces – since the brand’s establishment in 1865 – serve as pillars to create contemporary design and equip the watches with the Manufacture’s latest fine watchmaking technology.

DEFY Revival A3642

The Manufacture issued the debut of the DEFY collection in 1969. The bold, octagonal steel case paired with a fourteen-sided bezel and steel ‘ladder’ bracelet created by the famed Gay Frères company were the strong design codes of the DEFY.

In recent years the DEFY design has been even more progressive. The case ends in a flat area north and south of the bezel with an integrated strap. Part of Zenith’s strategy was to position the DEFY as how Zenith sees the different facets of watchmaking. Make it a field for experimenting (such as the DEFY Lab with the silicon oscillator and the full production models like the DEFY Inventor) but also make it affordable. They use materials like titanium, carbon fibre, Aeronith (an aluminium alloy developed by LVMH stablemate Hublot) and ceramic – for example the DEFY classic in white ceramic.

Now Zenith returned to its roots and revealed the DEFY Revival A3642, which brings back all the details and design elements that made the original so outstanding in its era. It has the 37mm octagonal steel case with 14-sided bezel, gradient brown dial, applied square hour markers featuring horizontal grooves, wide sword-shaped hands with SuperLumiNova and the stainless steel ‘Ladder’ bracelet. 

The revival timepiece features a sapphire display back showing the automatic Elite 670 manufacture movement, operating at a frequency of 4 Hz (28’800 VpH) and delivering a power reserve of 50 hours when fully wound.

The DEFY Revival A3642 is a limited edition of 250 pieces.

DEFY Skyline

The new DEFY Skyline collection builds upon the above mentioned legacy of Zenith. Reinterpreting elements from the 1969 DEFY A3642 in a contemporary context and packed with the performance of the latest generation El Primero movement – the DEFY Skyline is set to become a staple line for Zenith. 

The new models have a 41mm stainless steel case, with multi-faceted bezel (12 side, unlike on the DEFY Revival) and interchangeable bracelets thanks to the quick strap-change mechanism – it comes with a steel and a colour-coordinated rubber strap. The sunburst dial uses the four-pointed star pattern, which is a modern reimagining of the Zenith ‘double Z’ logo of the 1960’s. This not only gives some depth to the dial, but slightly changes its color – depending on the light. The decoration is also present on the back of the rubber straps. 

The novelty features the new El Primero 3620 calibre. On the small counter at 9 o’clock there is a constantly running 1/10th of a second hand – the movement drives the 1/10th of a second hand directly from the escapement, which beats at 5Hz (36’000 VpH). 

Zenith CEO Julien Tornare shares, ‘After a lot of time spent perfecting the design, proportions and precision, my team and I are extremely proud of the way the DEFY Skyline turned out. It’s the purest expression of the modernistic DEFY line that stands out without ever feeling out of place, and really solidifies the DEFY’s position at the forefront of the future of watchmaking’.

DEFY Midnight Sunset & DEFY Midnight Borealis

The DEFY Midnight was launched in 2020 as the first Zenith DEFY collection for women. It has the same cool spirit like the DEFY Classic watches but in a smaller size. I tried and loved the Midnight blue model in Vienna back then. 

At the LVMH Watch Week the brand presented two new additions inspired by  the wonders of the endless sky – the DEFY Midnight Sunset and DEFY Midnight Borealis.

The watches have a faceted 36mm stainless steel case with interchangeable straps. It comes with an additional strap beyond the metal bracelet and they can be easily swapped without any tools. 

Both models have guilloché engraved dials with a radiant wave pattern. The dials are framed with 44 diamonds on the bezel. The DEFY Midnight Sunset seamlessly transitions from warm red to a deep yellow tone, reflecting the colours of the last rays of the setting sun. The DEFY Midnight Borealis evokes the aurora borealis or northern lights phenomenon witnessed around the Arctic Circle, featuring a midnight blue dial that gradually shifts to a bright emerald green towards the bottom. 

In both versions, 11 white diamonds mark the hours, except at 3 o’clock where the date window is placed.

Zenith decided to give further options to style these watches. Besides the steel bracelet and supplied straps, DEFY Midnight owners can now shop an exclusive collection of sustainably made straps with a high-fashion edge, made in partnership with Nona Source, a start-up incubated by LVMH. Nona Source uses deadstock fabrics from the group’s most prestigious Fashion & Leather Goods Maisons that are upcycled and transformed into handmade haute couture straps, offered in a wide array of textiles and colours. Thanks to the quick strap-change mechanism it is super easy to ‘dress’ your watch.