Zenith’s Duo of Sapphire Editions: the Defy Zero-G & Defy 21 Double Tourbillon
Transparent, yes; unseen, no.
WRITTEN BY Theo Baker
JANUARY 6, 2022
This past year has been a stellar year for watch releases, but even more so for the watchmaker Zenith whose year was nothing short of a landmark year. From revitalizing its historic El Primero design with the Chronomaster Sport and updated Chronomaster Original, to a number of trendy launches – like the green-dial Chronomaster Revival “Safari” or modernly-focused Defy Extreme, the brand has pushed the boundaries, and as a result has enjoyed incredible success among fans and newcomers to its watches, alike.
Last month, to cap its 2021 novelties, Zenith unveiled its final bow— or rather, two bows— on the year, each watch further serving as the brand’s introduction to 2022. The launch is a duo of sapphire-cased watches that work to push the experimental edge of the already boundary-pushing Defy collection. The case material works to highlight the mechanical prowess of the watches and showcase Zenith’s meticulous expertise in all aspects of watchmaking: from movement development, case design, and manufacturing, to then finishing and fostering a lasting intrigue among wearers.
The pair of watches is led by the Zenith Defy Zero-G Sapphire. The watch takes the original 2018-launched Defy Zero-G design— previously only executed in titanium or precious metals at 44mm— and updates the look with a namesake sapphire case, now slightly larger at 46mm. The case is still styled in the familiar barrel-shape of the larger Defy collection, but is clearly differentiated not only via its uncommon material, but furthermore by its use of rhodium-plating, blue PVD accents, and interesting engravings and finishing techniques, each applied throughout the watch’s non-sapphire elements.
On the dial, the Defy Zero-G Sapphire features a highly engaging visual display recalling the interstellar. Its aesthetic best defined using meteorite and aventurine glass for the upper timekeeping sub-dial alongside the miniature painting representing Mars and used to count the running seconds. In parallel, at the bottom of the dial, is Zenith’s “Gravity Control” gyroscopic module. The module is a regulating organ maintained in a horizontal position, and besides serving as a signature for the Zero-G design, further adds to the sapphire edition’s futuristic and celestial style.
The second of the new pair is the Defy 21 Double Tourbillon Sapphire. Like the Zero-G, the 21 Double Tourbillon also opts for a space-inspired look, its blue PVD and rhodium-plated facets working in expert tandem alongside the sapphire case construction. On the dial, the skeletonized look of the watch feels complex yet concise, its double-tourbillon-powered chronograph, timekeeping elements, and power reserve indicator focused on their design and composition, with the smart use of coloring adding to their legibility and intrigue on the wrist.
Inside, the Zenith El Primero Caliber 9020 powers the watch, its two tourbillons regulating the chronometer-grade watch and its chronograph, while two independent barrels for each store separate power reserves, generated via a satin-brushed, star-type rotor.