Zenith’s Defy Skyline Brings Bold, Angular Appeal to a New Generation of Watch Fans

Welcome to Dialed In, Esquire’s weekly column bringing you horological happenings and the most essential news from the watch world since March 2020. This week marks the official beginning of a new year in watchmaking with LVMH’s Geneva Watch Week. It’s happening online, which means we can bring to you direct the brand-new launches, unveiled a few hours ago, from some of the luxury group’s storied Swiss brands.

While the Defy family of watches from Zenith has produced some mind-bending experimental—and expensive—watches in the past two years, including a Double Tourbillon whose transparent case is made entirely of sapphire crystal, the brand is also mindful of making its recognizable angular aesthetic available at more accessible prices and in simpler forms. The Defy Skyline, officially released this morning in Geneva, is a stripped-down yet luxurious daily beater. At once contemporary and timeless, it derives its good looks from the rugged Defy line first launched in 1969.

Defy Revival A3642

Zenith zenith-watches.com

$7,000.00

For die-hard vintage fans, a nut-and-bolt replica of the original—the Defy Revival A3642—was launched in a limited run of 250 pieces just last week. It oozes sporty, late-’60s style. It comes in the original size of 37mm and takes almost all its design cues from the original factory drawings of the 1969 Defy, down to the smoky gray gradient dial and the original multifaceted octagonal steel case with a 14-sided fixed bezel.

Defy Skyline

Zenith zenith-watches.com

$8,400.00

The new Skyline is an enlarged modern update (at 41mm) that distills much of the vibe of the original and comes with three metallic dial options in black, blue, and silver and a simplified case shape with a 12-sided bezel. A four-pointed star pattern is engraved into the dials echoing the old star that used to decorate the solid case backs. The new version has a sapphire crystal case back to show off the movement.

Defy Skyline

Zenith zenith-watches.com

$8,400.00

But the most unmissable thing about the Defy Skyline, when you get up close, is its seconds counter at 9 o’clock. In fact, it’s not a seconds counter at all. Driven by the El Primero 3620—an adaptation of the 3600 movement used in the super-technical Zenith Chronomaster—the hand counts tenths of a second, which means it makes a full revolution in just 10 seconds instead of the usual 60. Despite the power needed to keep it going constantly, the automatic movement has an impressive power reserve of 60 hours. It’s a function that is conceived to be playful in this application rather than functional—you could certainly waste mesmerizing minutes just watching it whip around its tiny sub-dial or showing it off to others—but it derives from the serious functionality engineered for its more purpose-built cousin, the Chronomaster.

Defy Skyline

Zenith zenith-watches.com

$8,400.00

Nick Sullivan is Creative Director at Equire, where he served as Fashion Director from 2004 until 2019.

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Source : Esquire