LVMH Watch Week 2023: Zenith

The Zenith DEFY Skyline Skeleton.

Zenith builds on the Defy collection this year.

At the start of 2023 in Singapore, Zenith unveiled four new models of the Defy Skyline, each targeted at a particular type of watch aficionado. Introduced last year, the Defy Skyline features a strong design with the lug-integrated octagonal case subtly based off early Defy models with a dodecagonal bezel. The angular construction, with mirror-finished and brushed surfaces, and interchangeable straps make it a watch for today's trendy individual.

The Zenith DEFY Skyline Skeleton in blue dial and movement.
The Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton in blue dial and movement.

Defy Skyline Skeleton

The biggest release for the brand at the start of this year is the Defy Skyline Skeleton, which features a 1/10th of a second indicator on the skeletonised dial. If you recall, the past Defy Skeleton had a star-shaped open dial. The new Defy Skyline Skeleton frees up even more space with a blue four-pointed star (or shuriken, if you prefer) that's cut out, with each corner of the dial also exposed to reveal the automatic Calibre 3620 underneath. The skeletonised display is bevelled and chamfered on all sides, with a polished surface on the angles. This dial is inspired by Zenith's 'Double Z' from the 1960s.

The Zenith DEFY Skyline Skeleton in black.
The Zenith Defy Skyline Skeleton in black. The small seconds counter indicates up to 1/10th of a second, totalling 100 markings in 10 seconds.

But the unique design of this watch comes from the small seconds counter, which displays not 60 seconds, but 10, with a 1/10th of a second marking on the seconds track. This is a feature that's distinctive to the Calibre 3620 generation of movements. The dial is available in black or blue, with the skeletonised movement finished in the same tone. The 41mm watch also has a bi-directional winding rotor and a power reserve of 60 hours.

A model wears the DEFY Skyline Skeleton.
A model wears the Defy Skyline Skeleton.

Like the watches of the Defy Skyline collection, the watch has an easy-change solution for its straps, so you can easily switch from a steel bracelet to a blue rubber strap bearing a starry sky. Both are offered with the watch, which is priced at S$16,100.

The DEFY Skyline 36mm in blue.
The Defy Skyline 36mm in blue.

Defy Skyline 36MM

The Defy Skyline was introduced last year at a larger 41mm case size. For the ladies, the brand offered the Defy Midnight with a single row of diamonds on the bezel and a gradient dial that ranged from red-orange to blue-teal and midnight to light blue. This year, the Defy Skyline comes in a 36mm case size for slender wrists.

The DEFY Skyline 36mm in green.
The Defy Skyline 36mm in green.

The refreshed dial comes in two colours, on a sunray-brushed display that features a repeating pattern of a four-point star stamped on it. The effect is similar to a Clous de Paris guilloché and plays on the light reflecting off the dial in addition to the sunray brushed effect. The design is based on a past emblem found on Zenith's old references and used previously in the larger-sized 41mm model.

The DEFY Skyline 36mm in pink.
The Defy Skyline 36mm in pink.

The collection of Defy Skyline 36MM models include a blue dial without diamonds, blue dial with diamonds, as well as bright pink and apple green dials in the same configurations. They are all incredible looking and bold, with plenty of attitude to spare. No word yet on the pricing, but we'll know soon.

The DEFY Extreme Glacier Limited Edition.
The Defy Extreme Glacier Limited Edition.

Defy Extreme Arctic/Glacier

We're no strangers to the Defy Extreme collection. Designed for the rugged sports lover, it's housed in steel or carbon cases and features the brand's 1/100th of a second chronograph self-winding El Primero 21 movement. The calibre has two escapements, one for the chronograph gear train running at 50Hz and the other keeping the time with a 5Hz escapement. They also typically have a translucent dial, with transparent counters that reveal the movement underneath and indicate the small seconds counter with chronograph totalisers.

The DEFY Extreme Glacier Limited Edition.
The Defy Extreme Glacier Limited Edition with a stainless steel bracelet.

The Defy Extreme Arctic Limited Edition is inspired by the awe-inspiring glaciers of the Arctic and has a design that revolves around them. The dodecagonal insert under the bezel is made of white chalcedony, with similar inserts around the chronograph controls. The steel case features a partly skeletonised dial, which allows you to see through the movement, and steel rings for the counters on a frosted sapphire crystal display. It makes for easier reading of the dial, which has white markers consistent with the design of the watch.

The watch comes with a white rubber strap, steel bracelet, and black textile strap for comfortable wearing during extreme sports. The El Primero 21 calibre offers a 50-hour power reserve, and the watch has a 200m water resistance.

The Zenith DEFY Skyline Boutique Edition.
The Zenith Defy Skyline Boutique Edition.

Defy Skyline Boutique Edition

Available exclusively at Zenith's boutiques, this is a classic Defy Skyline with a two-toned dial that stands out. The anthracite-hued, rhodium-plated dial bears Zenith's four-point star stamping, which reveals the rose gold-hued material underneath. The dial matches the rose gold hands, hour markers, and date window, making it an outstanding design. More details to come.

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.


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