Last year was a big one for Zenith. It saw the unveiling of both the Defy El Primero 21 and the Defy Lab. The latter made headlines across the horological blogosphere and beyond thanks to a new monocrystalline silicon oscillator that was designed as a compliant mechanism and offered almost 10 times higher accuracy. At Baselworld 2018, the brand continues building out the Defy series with two separate lines of watches: the Defy Classic, which helps standardize and normalize the extreme look the El Primero 21 and Lab started with, and the Zero-G, which continues the brand’s focus on innovation.
The Zenith Defy Classic is a three-handed watch with date, hence the “Classic” name. It’s sized at 41 mm and has a titanium case. There are two different versions. One with a skeletonized dial, á la last year’s iterations, and one with a sunburst blue closed dial. Either model comes with the choice of an integrated metal bracelet, rubber strap coated with alligator leather, or a uni-structure rubber strap. Inside the watch is the Zenith Manufacture Elite 670 base caliber that has been modified with a silicon pallet lever and escape wheel. It has a 50-hour power reserve. The skeletonized version features a blackened version of the movement with a cut-out date disc at 6 o’clock.
The Defy Zero G is a whole new beast that bills itself as “futuristic Haute Horlogerie” thanks to a downsized and optimized gyroscopic “Gravity Control” module. Back in the early 2000s, Zenith started work on a self-regulating gravity control device that would cancel the effects of gravity by holding the regulating organ and balance wheel in a horizontal position. This module has been thinned down for efficiency’s sake and now takes up to 30% less room. You can view it in motion at 6 o’clock, while offset hours and minutes can be found on a blue-tinted ring featuring luminescent faceted-hour-markers and baton-type hands. The small seconds subdial and power reserve counter appear directly symmetrical to one another between 9 and 10 o’clock and 2 and 3 o’clock.
The 44 mm watch comes in either titanium or pink gold. It features an integrated bracelet that matches the case metal featuring brushed and polished H-shaped links or a rubber strap coated with alligator leather. The Zero G series uses the manual-winding El Primero 8812S caliber that features 324 components (139 for the gyroscopic carriage alone) and has a 50-hour power reserve.