Zenith and French ski-apparel brand Fusalp have just launched a limited collaboration with a pair of Defy Classic watches that I was fortunate enough to get a hands-on look at earlier this year. Limited edition collaborations are hit-or-miss (though, I suppose this is really true for just about any release) but they tend to be the most successful when obvious co-branding takes a backseat to thoughtful and memorable design touches that enhance the appeal of the base watch. Fortunately, this is certainly the case with this pair of Zenith Defy Classic Fusalp watches, done in either black or white ceramic, both of which exude contemporary flair that would be at home in the brand’s standard lineup.
The Defy Classic is a deceptively sharp watch that marries contemporary design and materials in a way that appeals to even traditional minded enthusiasts like myself. Crisp skeletonized dials in a reasonably sized ceramic case with a super comfortable rubber strap for an altogether not-unreasonable price. What’s to hate? These two Fusalp collaboration watches largely stick to to the script of the standard issue (41mm wide ceramic case with 100m of water resistance) but the design of the skeletonization on the dial is wholly unique to them and very cool looking. Rather than the geometric skeletonized dial found on standard production models, the Fusalp has what is described as a blend of the Zenith five-pointed star logo with a snowflake, a reference to the ski-apparel brand.
The result is a dynamic and fairly complex pattern that isn’t overly busy or confusing. I love the unexpected yet playfully luxurious touches of rose gold that avoid being distracting by staying in the background of this rather deep dial. The blue, red, and white rings bordering the chapter ring also do the trick without being too in-your-face. I have to give special kudos to the subtle changes made to the strap design since collaborative design flairs typically don’t extend beyond the dial and case back. The standard rubber strap seen on the Defy Classic has a geometric waffle-pattern on it while the Fusalp has a concentric rectangle pattern is distinct to. it and is finished with fabric stitching.
Finally, there is a Fusalp logo serving as the center of the satined rose gold five-pointed star rotor embossed on the case back. Of course, the movement is still the automatic Elite 670 which operates at 28,800 vph and has a 48-hour power reserve.
As previously mentioned, there is a black iteration and a white iteration. While they are both limited, the white model is slightly pricier and will have a lower production number. It is also the one I personally prefer more from the two but I don’t think the black model will have any problem moving units. The Zenith Defy Classic Fusalp in white ceramic (Ref. 49.9000.670-2/02.R796) is limited to 100 pieces and priced at 10,900 CHF and in black ceramic (Ref. 49.9000.670-1/22.R797) is limited to 300 pieces and priced at 9,900 CHF. These watches will be available at Zenith boutiques and on their online store as well as select Fusalp boutiques. You can learn more at zenith-watches.com